In honor of the most celebrated sign of the Chinese Zodiac, The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas are commemorating the prosperous holiday with a ceremonial dragon dance at 1 p.m. on Jan. 23. Symbolizing good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year, the dragon dance is an important ritual of Chinese culture. Complete with firecrackers and an eye painting ceremony, the dance will begin at The Venetian porte cochere, and then make its way through The Palazzo. The colorful spectacle will feature a parade of dancers and musicians dressed in elaborate costumes playing authentic music.

The Waterfall & Atrium Gardens of The Palazzo will also host Las Vegas’ premier Chinese New Year attraction: a 128-foot hand-crafted, fire-breathing dragon suspended above in the 65-foot-high space. 

To your right is a rendition of the dragon. Spanning the entire atrium, the one-of-a-kind, 8,000-pound dragon will be perched amidst the ground fountain and breathe fire from Jan. 23 through Feb. 5 at 1 and 5 p.m. (2 p.m. on Chinese New Year Day following the dragon dance).

Regarded as the mightiest of signs, the dragon symbolizes such traits as ambition, passion and success. Those who possess the sign of the Dragon are said to take risks, are unafraid of challenges and embody colorful personalities.

“During Chinese New Year, it is beneficial to visit the dragon for its blessing and protection. It is good luck to walk around the entire dragon three times in a clockwise motion to remove obstacles for 2012,” said Peter Lung, with World of Feng Shui, who consulted on the design of the dragon. “You should build friendships with those who possess the sign of the dragon for better luck and blessings in the New Year.”

To your left is a photo of an artist working on the dragon. It took more than 60 designers, conceptualists, welders and painters from across the globe over a year to create, and it will take nearly 10 days to construct on-site.

The west garden will be complete with rocks, plants and metals representing earth elements, while the east garden will embody water elements with live orange Koi fish and one black fish to represent Yin and Yang, the ancient Chinese philosophy of polar opposites being interconnected and interdependent.

“The dragon is the most powerful of the zodiac signs. We had to create something that Las Vegas would never forget,” said Dana Beatty, director of horticulture for The Venetian and The Palazzo. “From the number and location of our displays to the length and direction of the dragon, everything about the Waterfall & Atrium Gardens is feng shui-inspired, creating the perfect environment to bring wealth and prosperity in 2012.”

A secret friend to the dragon, a rooster will sit to the west of the ground fountain. The two zodiacs are compatible with one another and together bring harmony, wealth and lucky relationships.

The gardens and entrances to both The Venetian and The Palazzo will be adorned with fresh bamboo, citrus trees and 15-foot floral arrangements of tangerines, bromeliads and orchids. Nine traditional I-Ching coins, representing an abundance of wealth, will surround the dragon and Lalique statues of The Palazzo. Six-foot-tall, hand-loomed brocade silk and jade gold  and red lanterns will be suspended from the atrium ceilings.

During Chinese New Year, guests can enjoy auspicious dishes at The Palazzo’s Zine Noodles Dim Sum, ranked as one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. by Chinese Restaurant News.

Celebrated chef Simon To has created limited-time signature dishes: Live Lobster with golden garlic and spicy salt – the word “lobster” resembles that of “dragon” in Chinese — representing positive energy. Firecracker Manila Clams, infused with Chinese white wine, fish paste and spicy roasted pepper – representing hidden treasures and a wealthy year ahead. And Buddha Feast Creation, sautéed seasonal vegetables with ginger juice – representing “a whole, good, healthy family for the entire year.”

Guests can also enjoy refreshing infusions of Chamomile and Lychee Ice Tea; Green Tea with Rosemary, Chili and Lemon; and the signature Dragon Cocktail created from vodka, ginger liqueur, lime, a spring of tarragon, lemongrass syrup and lemon rind. These refreshing libations will be served at our bars and lounges at The Venetian and The Palazzo.

All in all, we’re celebrating the Year of the Dragon in grand style. We hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us.