To the average Vegas tourist, they celebrate Christmas and New Years at the end of December. For the people who run the casinos in Las Vegas, they prefer to operate on a different calendar. One that makes today Christmas and in seven days, their New Year. Otherwise known as Chinese New Year. To the casinos of Las Vegas, this is the week they will make bank and then some ($$). Here is another way to look at it: Chinese New Year is to a Las Vegas casinos is what Christmas morning is to an average 8-year-old American kid. It’s a big deal!
Once the cowboys leave in early December, the major casinos push almost everything and everyone else out of the way and start implementing all the changes they have spent the last 9 months carefully planning for. Everything is spruced up, changed, built or arranged to accommodate that year’s animal and signs of good luck, fortune, and happiness. The Fengshui guru’s and professionals work double time in Las Vegas during this change over period.
Chinese New Years is a public holiday for Chinese. Usually people have 7 consecutive days off from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the sixth day after Chinese New Year’s Day. Officially only the first three days of Chinese New Year (February 8–10, 2016) are statutory holiday. Chinese New Year’s Eve and three more days are always added to give seven consecutive days of holiday. These four extra days are taken from weekends: the two weekend days closest to the statutory holiday are included, while the Saturday before (February 6, 2016) and the Sunday after (February 14, 2016) are worked.
By the end of January, MGM and Caesars will have spent a lot of time and money making all the changes to their floor colors, the tile patterns, flower combinations and whatever else they could change that would influence a superstitious Chinese gamblers decision to visit and to gamble at their property. This includes restaurants changing their menus (even the colors and the layouts), Asian themed traveling shows not normally stopping in Las Vegas are purposely booked for this week. Any Asian and Chinese in-house entertainment selections will be highlighted and promoted over the usual marquee headliners. Almost anything that can be changed will be changed to accommodate the millions of Chinese and Asian tourists that will flock here over the next seven days to celebrate.
The Asian and Chinese tour segment for the Vegas tourism is huge. But for this week, it will double if not triple in size. Of the many customs and traditions in the Chinese culture, it is often seen as good luck to start the new year by placing a wager. So if the Gods of luck say it’s ok to gamble this one time and you have saved all year (or all your life) to make that trip of a lifetime, why not make that gamble in Las Vegas?
So Las Vegas rolls out the red carpet for them. Literally. Since red corresponds with fire which symbolizes good fortune and joy, Vegas is flush with all things red. Unless you were born under the sign of the Fire Monkey. 2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey. Then red is not your preferred color. Neither are the numbers 2 and 7. If you are born under the sign of the monkey, look for the numbers 4 and 9 nd the colors blue, gold and white.
Western culture follows the calendar months for the 12 signs of the year for our zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac goes for 12-year phases. The Monkey is ninth of the 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. Every 12 years there is a Monkey year. Your chances of having a happy, successful and fortunate life depends on how well you live up to the animal you were born under.
Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens celebrates the Year of the Monkey with a spirited display now through March 12. The display’s vibrant centerpiece features a garden representative of monkeys and their natural habitat. A family of 12 Macaque monkeys can be seen atop a 14-foot mountain working together and using their intelligence and creativity to reach the peaches descending from the sky. (now thru March 12)
The Palazzo’s Waterfall Atrium and Gardens boasts a display anchored by a five-foot, 300-pound Monkey King seated at the base of a 38-foot wishing tree and sporting a chest plate adorned with more than 8,000 hand-sewn gold coins. Playing among the wishing tree’s 8,000 branches of golden foliage: 28 mischievous monkeys, each with a hand-painted face.
At Wynn Las Vegas, three, 800-pound Tang Dynasty horse sculptures will be on display through Feb. 14. The nine-foot-tall, 10-foot-long horses were created by master sculptor Sillipachai “Mod” Toonrud of FORTE Specialty Contractors in Las Vegas, and are painted red and gilded in gold leaf.
The Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza will host a day of Chinese New Year celebrations with authentic Asian food from Canton, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Japanese, Hong Kong and Hawaiian cuisines. In addition to the food, guests can watch cultural performances such as the Lion & Dragon dances, Chinese martial arts and many traditional Asian dance performances. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21.