Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens celebrates the Year of the Horse during Chinese New Year with a festive sanctuary boasting rich cultural meaning and honoring the stallion symbolizing happiness and luck through March 1.
The design of the Conservatory’s tranquil temple is guided by the ancient practice of Feng Shui – the art of using surroundings to attract harmony, balance and positive life energy. Each garden within the Chinese New Year display incorporates water, ensuring a positive flow of energy; and the three friends of winter – pine, bamboo and plum, symbolizing perseverance, integrity and modesty, respectively. Clusters of red silk lanterns and red firecrackers, believed to ward off evil as they represent happiness and prosperity, hang dramatically from the Conservatory’s ceiling.
The display’s bold centerpiece features seven life-size horses on a lush three-tier mountain while a majestic gold stallion rears at the mountaintop; the total number of eight represents good fortune. Cascading waterfalls drift down the mountain into a tranquil pond filled with more than 150 Koi fish while two giant red lanterns illuminate the sky overhead.
At the Conservatory’s entrance, an 18-foot-tall custom-made Chinese money tree symbolizes good fortune and nobility. The lucky tree flourishes with 384 oversized gold-leafed coins on its branches as mounds of I-Ching coins, a traditional Chinese symbol for money, surround its base. At the garden’s corners, four ding pots, ancestral vessels that protect against bad fortune, burn incense from their peaks for good luck.
A zig-zag bridge extends from both sides of the Chinese-style pavilion in the North Garden, providing a difficult route for negative energy and bad spirits. “Lucky” children, each embellished with 1,800 multicolored flowers including carnations, spider mums and Fuji mums, bring life to the display as they play near the peaceful pavilion. In the South Garden, three floral children frolic throughout the luminous Bromeliads.
This garden provides a serene stage for the Las Vegas-based Beijing Trio to perform traditional folk and pop music with authentic Chinese instruments from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., nightly. The musicians arrive to the stage through an ancient moon gate, serving as an inviting entrance into the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Legend has it that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came. The seventh animal in the Asian zodiac is the headstrong horse. Those born in the Year of the Horse tend to be energetic, good with money and very fond of travel.
On view through March 1, the Chinese New Year exhibit within Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is complimentary to the public and open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Click on the photos below to enlarge.