The 15 days of Chinese New Year are the most important in the Chinese culture. On Jan. 31, the Year of the Snake comes to an end, ushering in the Year of the Horse. Vegas visitors looking for a way to start the new lunar year can welcome the Year of the Horse with lots of celebratory noise on the Las Vegas Strip, downtown and in Chinatown.
The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens has free live music performed by the Las Vegas-based Beijing Trio from 5 – 6 p.m. daily through March 1. The trio performs traditional folk and pop music with authentic Chinese instruments.
Lion and dragon dances
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
For the 18th year, students from the Meadows School will perform a traditional dragon dance through the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace starting at about 10 a.m. Jan. 31. The parading students include 120 Meadows School singers and dancers in kindergarten and the fifth grade. Students will be in red and gold costumes – Chinese colors of joy – with drums and firecrackers. The parade starts near Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab with a primary performance at the Fountain of the Gods. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman will also make remarks at this time.
Crystals at CityCenter
Crystals shops at CityCenter will be handing cabbage and red envelopes to a furry dragon during a traditional lion dance by Yau Kung Moon starting at 1 p.m. Jan. 31. Yau Kung Moon is a Chinese martial arts system of flexible power. The dance organization specializes in several traditional Chinese animal dances, including the lion and dragon dances. The cabbage and red envelopes are believed to bring good fortune. The ceremony begins at the at Crystal’s entrance near Todd English P.U.B.
Venetian and Palazzo
The Venetian and Palazzo celebrate the Year of the Horse with a ceremonial dragon dance featuring a parade of dancers and drummers starting at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 31. The festivities include firecrackers and an eye painting ceremony. The parade starts at the Venetian’s porte cochere, winds through the casino to the Waterfall Atrium at the Palazzo and then continues through the resort.
A lion dance will be performed inside the main lobby of MGM Grand at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 in celebration of Chinese New Year. The lion dance will be performed by Yau Kung Moon.
A lion dance by Yau Kung Moon will be performed at 4 p.m. Feb. 1 at the main porte cochere in the Bellagio.
Aria at CityCenter celebrates the Year of the Horse with a traditional lion dance by Yau Kung Moon. The lion dance begins at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at Aria’s porte cochere, or main valet.
A traditional lion dance is scheduled for 6 and 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Palms main entrance to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Dotting of the Eyes ceremony
The Cosmopolitan is celebrating Chinese New Year with a dotting of the eyes ceremony at 2 p.m. Feb. 1 at the resort’s east side entrance. The ceremony includes 30 performers awakening dragon and lion performers by dotting their eyes with red paint, who then will parade through the casino, before stopping at the High Limit Lounge to collect cabbage for good luck.
Fremont Street Experience
For the third year, the Chinese New Year in the Desert festival will be held Feb. 7 – 9 at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas. Opening ceremonies are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the 3rd Street Stage next to the D Las Vegas, and includes a performance by the wind ensemble The Desert Winds, and a dragon dance by the Las Vegas Lohan School of Shaolin. Virtual firecrackers, an eye painting ceremony and performers are planned for opening night. Throughout the rest of the weekend’s festivities, Asian performers can be found at the 3rd Street Stage, and an International Vendor Village will offer tastes of other cultures, located on 3rd Street N., between Fremont Street and Stewart Avenue. To learn more about the festival, visit Chinese New Year in the Desert’s website.
The Chinese American Chamber of Commerce is once again celebrating Chinese New Year with an Asian food festival and entertainment from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, 4255 Spring Mountain Road. Entertainment includes a lion dance, Chinese folk dance, Chinese acrobatics, a dragon dance and dances from other Asian cultures. Chinese arts and crafts, a calligrapher and fortune tellers will also be part of the festivities. Entertainment runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 6 – 12 years old. Children ages 5 and younger may attend for free.
Panda! at the Palazzo
Panda! tells the story of LongLong, a panda who must gain courage to fight for his kidnapped bride, the Peacock Princess. Masters in several Chinese arts, including kung fu, ribbon dancing, acrobatic hoop diving and pole climbing, traditional-style conjuring that features an illusionist producing bowl after bowl filled with water and live fish from his oversized robe and Chinese martial arts styles including Shaolin-style wushu, monkey kung fu and drunken boxing. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday at the Palazzo. Tickets start at $48.
Shen Yun at the Smith Center
For three days only, the Shen Yun dance company performs at the Smith Center. Billed as a global sensation, the performance pays homage to 5,000 years of Chinese civilization and is accompanied by the Shen Yun Orchestra. Ancient Chinese instruments, such as the ehru and pipa, are supported by a traditional Western orchestra. The dance routines feature folk and ethnic dances, including those from Tibet. Shen Yun was founded by Falun Dafa performers to “revive the essence of Chinese culture,” according to Shen Yun website. Falun Dafa, a meditation practice and practitioners say they are harassed by China’s communist government. Shen Yun performs at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 – 23 at the Smith Center. Tickets start at $50.