Happy Chinese New Year — it’s my year!

Festive Chinese New Year decor at Cosmopolitan.

Festive Chinese New Year decor at Cosmopolitan.

Chinese New Year celebration in Vegas is a huge event, since Strip casinos cater to so many Chinese gamblers. This year, I was particularly into it, since it’s my year, year of the snake. To get good luck for the year (I hope!) I made sure to see at least one traditional dance. I chose the one from the Cosmopolitan, which turned out to be spectacular. There was so much hoopla that it was tough to get photos, especially when they come right up to you, wiggling around so fast. To start, every resort is decorated for the holiday. The Cosmopolitan’s red lanterns looked particularly bright against its famous three-story chandelier.

Prior to the dancing, I ate at China Poblano, where I took year of the snake party photos for my Hidden Vegas project for Sony Store.

China Poblano

Before the dance could begin, the lions were awakened during the traditional dotting of the eyes ritual that took place outside the front doors, on the Strip

Dotting the Eyes on the Lion


Showtime! The parade of acrobats and dancers wove through the casino headed towards the main lobby of the hotel.

Lions walking throughout The Cosmopolitan for Chinese New Year


The dancers in charge of the dragon tail were mostly kids. They were concentrating so hard! The waves were very beautiful, undulating in a perfect rhythm.

Dragon Dance

In the lobby, the dragons and lions went wild! The movements were so quick, and the front guys of the lions jumped up on the shoulders of the back ones at amazing speeds. The whole thing was over so fast! But it was amazing.


Finally, the procession headed to the high limit lounge, The Talon Club. There, the lions had to catch cabbage in their mouths and spit it out to bring good fortune to those around them. (Hopefully me!)

The lions at the 'Collecting of the Cabbage' 2-1



Happy Year of the Snake, everybody!

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. That’s awesome. I’m going to the family one in the Chinatown Plaza on Sunday. Every year, at the end of Chinese New Year week, they have a family oriented affair with food, toys, and a stage with traditional performances from all over Asia.

  2. I love that tradition! My brother lives in China, but I have no idea what he’s doing for the holiday…

  3. Very cool post 🙂 cheers!

  4. I love how colorful and festive their celebration is!

  5. I have this great visual of the lions spitting cabbage all over the high rollers. Oh well…I’m sure nobody would complain if it made the cards run right.
    The Cosmo certainly does look great with all the lanterns up. Have you officially moved in there yet or are you just visiting a whole heck of a lot?

  6. Mine too Abby – let’s get a drink to celebrate!
    Gorgeous costumes btw and looks like way too much fun to be had 🙂

  7. I had no idea Chinese New Year was so big until I saw all of the resorts tweeting pictures of their lobby displays, etc. Fun times!

  8. How fun! 🙂 I’ve never been to Vegas but I’ve been hearing really great stories recently that make me think I’d really like to go. 🙂

  9. For Chinese new year, somehow the show I saw was an Okinawan lion dance. It’s not as lively as the Chinese lions, but they were still beautiful and intricate. It surprised me to learn that one of those Okinawan lions cost $12,000 USD. Yikes.

    The year of the snake is my year, too!

  10. I love the idea of dotting the eyes to wake up the dragons, hadn’t been aware of that before 😉

  11. What a blast!!!
    I have a feeling it will be one good year for you! 🙂

  12. Abby! If it’s your year you need to wear a piece of jade every day, never take it off for the whole year! Brings good luck 🙂

  13. Ohhhh I never knew that!!

  14. I had no idea this was a big thing in Vegas. Sounds like a good time to visit.

  15. Happy birthday year. My 11-year-old is also a snake. I wonder why the Chinese New Year is such a big deal in Las Vegas. Is there a large Chinese expat community?

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