Las Vegas Celebrates Year of the Rabbit at Casinos, Homes

The Year of the Rabbit is underway in Las Vegas. Festivities to mark the start of the new lunar year began on Sunday. Events last for about two weeks.

Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council
Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council
Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), center. She was honored this month for her many contributions to the community. (Image: Asian Community Development Council)

Lion dances, multi-course meals, and playing of games are among the more popular new year traditions celebrated in Nevada and around the world. Non-Asians take part in many festivities, too.

Vida Lin, who is president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council (ACDC), and is a former president of Nevada’s Asian Chamber of Commerce, explained that lunar new year for the Asian community “is huge.”

Each lunar year has an animal associated with it under the zodiac calendar. Lin said it is significant this year is the Year of the Rabbit. The animal represents the qualities of peacefulness, gentleness, being calm, and being smart, she explained.

“This year should be calmer,” Lin added. “The Year of the Rabbit is a year with more peace and respect, and [a time that] we work together.”

Last year, was the Year of the Tiger.

Preparations for the new year began last week with the tradition of cleaning one’s house.

Over the weekend, many celebrated by gambling and playing of games, such as mahjong. In fact, gambling on the new year is a tradition, Lin said.

Envelopes containing cash often are given to unmarried children, with wishes for a long life and a happy new year.

Many Chinese Americans will take this week off from work. Many will enjoy festive meals.

Casino Activities

At the casinos in Las Vegas, high rollers often come to the gaming properties during the initial weeks of the new year.

Eight- or nine-course meals are served. The numbers eight and nine are associated with luck and prosperity.

There are also family activities. Drawings for either a car or cash prize are held, too.

Most of the large casinos have some event,” Lin told Casino.org.

“Lunar New Year is an important holiday for many of our team members and guests at Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts, as well as the greater Las Vegas community,” Sean McBurney, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, told Casino.org.

“We look forward to celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with colorful decor, lively lion dances, and special food and beverage offerings for all to enjoy. We wish everyone a year filled with prosperity, abundance, and good fortune.”

For instance, Caesars Palace will have a lion dance starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Lin explained the lion dance is seen as a way to get rid of evil spirits and to start the new year with good luck.

Year of the Rabbit

The Year of the Rabbit this year comes after the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Nevada alone, the ACDC distributed over 2 million pounds of food over the past two years. The needs continue since many members of the Asian American and Asian Pacific Islander community lost businesses during the pandemic, Lin said.

Some continue to look for jobs. Also, some 81 percent of the members of the community are uninsured or underinsured for health care.

Often, many members of the community never asked for help before and have been reluctant to ask for assistance, Lin said.

Teach About Asians

In many parts of the US, there is unfamiliarity with the Asian culture and history, as well as a lack of knowledge on what the Asian community contributed to the US.

For instance, Chinese immigrant workers were key in the construction of US railroad tracks.

There were also negative experiences. Laws were enacted against Chinese immigrants and Japanese were forced into internment camps during WW 2.

Even now, there has been anti-Asian violence recently in the US.

A lion dance held last year in Las Vegas
A lion dance held last year in Las Vegas
A lion dance held last year in Las Vegas. The dances are a way to usher in good luck for the lunar new year. (Image: KSNV)

One way that the wider community could become more familiar with the history, traditions, and contributions of the Asian community is to include more Asian studies in public schools as part of the kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum, Lin said.

The Asian community continues to be prominent in Nevada, particularly in Clark County. Asians represent about 13 percent of Nevada’s population.

The Asian and Asian Pacific Islander community in Nevada numbers about 380,000. There are also over 32,000 Asian-owned businesses in Nevada.

Lin Honored

Lin came to Las Vegas 28 years ago. Her family is from the Canton region of China.

Lin’s extensive efforts to help the Asian and Asian Pacific lslander community led Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the City Council to honor her. January 18, 2023, was proclaimed as Vida Lin Day in Las Vegas.

The post Las Vegas Celebrates Year of the Rabbit at Casinos, Homes appeared first on Casino.org.

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