Hakkasan Celebrates Chinese New Year with Wishing Trees and Dancers

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The Hakkasan Wishing Tree.
The Hakkasan Wishing Tree.

Photo Credit: Aaron Garcia

Hakkasan at the MGM Grand kicked off its Chinese New Year celebration on Thursday night with the Chinese “Wishing Tree” tradition, inspired by the famous ancient banyan tree in Hong Kong.

Decorated dancers gathered around the gold Wishing Tree in festive costumes, paying tribute to the Year of the Sheep while handing out wishing ribbons to spectators. After writing down a wish, guests would hang their ribbons on the Wishing Tree in hopes that they would come true this year. Keeping the celebration going, dancers and drum players greeted the traditional Lion Dance ceremony around the Wishing Tree to bring luck to the new year.

Following the spectacle in front of the venue, the lion troupe entered the restaurant to entertain guests as they dined on Chinese New Year dishes. The group danced through the narrow walkways while guests were given a red envelope that included a $2 bill to drop into the mouth of the lion, a Chinese tradition believed to bring good luck and fortune.

Onlookers were eager to catch a glimpse of the playful performance as many migrated from their seats to take pictures of the charismatic figure and join in on the colorful parade. Guests were also invited to share their hopes for 2015 by writing their wishes on wishing ribbons and display them on the restaurant’s signature latticework cages.

Hakkasan restaurant is offering a specialty Chinese New Year menu, available through Sunday, March 1, along with its traditional a la carte offerings, created by Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon. Dishes include spicy prawn with lily bulb and almonds, stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot, as well as more traditional items such as the fried bamboo pith roll with asparagus, yam bean, pumpkin and mushroom.

The celebration carried through to the nightclub as the venue was fully decorated in traditional red lanterns complemented by a second Wishing Tree on display in the nightspot’s fourth-level Pavilion for clubgoers to dance around as Hakkasan resident DJ Calvin Harris took to the turntables.

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