The result of collaborative efforts between designer Ed Libby, Bellagio’s horticulture team and Feng Shui Master George Yau, the intricate creation is layered with meaningful features honoring The Year of the Rat.
Each Lunar New Year, the team collaborates to create a serene environment guided by the ancient practice of Feng Shui – the art of using surroundings to attract harmony, balance and positive life energy. Represented throughout the display, the theme “Free Flowing Fortune” is signified by the blending of elements from Asian culture and Western ideology.
The Year of the Rat takes center stage in the West Bed, starting with a series of rats that are hard at work bringing New Year’s riches to the centerpiece of the bed. The Rat is the first of the zodiac, and according to one myth, the Jade Emperor said that the order of the zodiac would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived at his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride, and just as they arrived at the emperor’s gates, the clever Rat jumped down and landed ahead of the Ox, becoming the first of the zodiac animals. In Chinese culture, rats are a sign of intelligence, wealth and vitality. Two golden money trees stand on either side of the staircase while chrysanthemum and peony adornments surround the West Bed. Legend has it that the money tree can bring wealth and fortune to the people and is a symbol of affluence, nobility and prosperity.
The cherry blossom signifies feminine beauty and love, creating a focal point in the East Bed. As guests enter the Conservatory, they pass under a series of golden cherry blossom arches representing their journey to a place of beauty and love. Additionally, lanterns and coin chandeliers represent a passage into a year of prosperity and good fortune.
In Asian culture, Jade is a precious stone with six virtues: benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, bravery, honesty and cleanliness. The Bellagio horticulture team created a grand pavilion composed of two giant jade-like adorned archways with gilded accents. Five majestic pendants crown the top of the arches, each decorated with a gilded dragon watching over guests on their journey. Two majestic bronze Ding Vessels, symbols of status and power, anchor the east and west sides of the North Bed, while a Koi fish fountain delivers free-flowing fortune.
The temple of the Six Banyan Trees can be found in the South Bed, which features an ornate pagoda guarded by two animatronic “lion” dancers. Festive red lanterns hung over the bed and strung with firecrackers, ward away evil spirits. Children dance about, holding lanterns and firecrackers in celebration of their blessings and the coming year. Large peony floral sculptures adorn the Conservatory as a representation of wealth, power and class. A symbol of good luck, citrus trees surround the temple, engaging yet another of the five senses with its wonderful aroma.
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is complimentary to the public. To learn more, please visit Bellagio’s newsroom. For high-resolution images, please click here. For the Lunar New Year display video, please click here.
Lunar New Year Display By the Numbers
• 32,000: Flowers on display throughout the exhibit
• 115: Team members involved in the display’s assembly
• 1,700: Number of flowers used to create the children
• 20 feet: Height of jade medallions
• 14 feet: Height of the West Bed’s largest rat
• 6: Number of hanging Chinese lanterns
• 6: Number of cherry blossom trees
• 5: Number of rats in the display