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Las Vegas: Dragon dances, tea ceremony to usher in Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebrations begin with a bang Jan. 31 in Las Vegas. Colorful ceremonies can be found at various Strip properties.

Firecrackers will be part of a traditional dragon dance that starts at 3 p.m. at the Venetian’s porte-cochere. Dancers will wind their way through the casino before moving on to the Waterfall Atrium & Gardens at the Palazzo, its sister property.

Chinese lion dancers will also ring in the new year on Jan. 31. They get underway at 1 p.m. at the Shops at Crystals and at 6 p.m. in the main lobby of MGM Grand.

Starting Jan. 31 and continuing through Feb. 3, afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas will feature a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, complete with handmade fortune cookies and holiday-inspired pastries. Tea service will be available each day from 2-5 p.m. for $35 per person. Reservations: (888) 881-9367.

The Year of the Horse is being ushered in with three 800-pound horse sculptures on display at two resorts. The 9-foot-tall horses are based on sculptures from the Tang Dynasty. Two stand in the atrium at Wynn and the third outside the baccarat room at neighboring Encore.

Seven life-size horses, watched over by a rearing stallion, form the centerpiece of the seasonal display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Clusters of firecrackers and red silk lanterns hang from the ceiling. They’re thought to represent happiness and prosperity while warding off evil.

The display can be viewed free of charge 24 hours a day through March 1.

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