Teams conduct activities for lunar new year

Lunar New Year celebrations have started around the globe and professional sports teams are joining in on the festivities — some have released special edition kits and others are holding events. 

Premier League side Manchester City F.C. released a Lunar New Year kit earlier this month with star players Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson Moraes sporting the elegant blue and gold jersey in the promo shoot. Man City also released a track jacket among other pieces of apparel for sale on their official shop site, with the jacket portraying a pair of rabbits on the back, symbolizing the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit in many countries.

Fellow English team Chelsea F.C. released a Lunar New Year themed training kit this year. While the overall design isn’t new since it’s essentially the same training kit they’ve been using during warm-ups for their matches, the Blues have added a graphic of a rabbit on the center. The team will sport the kit during warm-ups Jan. 29 for the Women’s FA Cup match against Liverpool and the men’s team will don it against Fulham in the Premier League Feb. 3.

This past week, Spanish giants Real Madrid C.F. released a video regarding the new year with defenders David Alaba and Antonio Rüdiger playing a variety of mini games falling under the theme of Lunar New Year. The Madridistas also released a Lunar New Year edition bomber jacket. Like Man City’s jacket, it features a large graphic on the back.

F.C. Barcelona hosted an event yesterday before their league match against Getafe C.F. celebrating the new year, with a multitude of activities conducted at the Spotify Camp Nou. A traditional dragon and lion dance performance, musical acts and Chinese calligraphy were some of the activities that were listed on the team’s official website. The Catalan side also lined up in kits that had their names in Chinese characters before reverting back to their normal kits for kick-off.

Stateside, the Golden State Warriors celebrated Lunar New Year by hosting events such as a rabbit petting zoo, arts and crafts and performances by a variety of groups over the weekend. On Saturday, the Warriors held a free event at Thrive City with activities ready for visitors and a 5-foot-tall statue of a rabbit, one of five locally designed statues scattered throughout San Francisco. 

On Sunday, the Warriors faced off against the Nets — also doing things to celebrate the new year. Those in attendance received red envelopes, a traditional gift during Lunar New Year which symbolizes good wishes and luck, upon entry as well as being treated to in-game performances by Lion Dance Me, Lisa Performing Arts and Thunder Kung Fu as well as many others. They also had special edition Lunar New Year shirts for sale at any Warriors shop. 

Other NBA teams hosted events to celebrate as well. The Memphis Grizzlies hosted an in-game dance performance before tip-off by the Ming Dance Team and a Kung Fu showcasing by the Tennessee Happy Kung Fu School at half time on Wednesday in their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Washington Wizards also had some spectacles set up in their routing of the Orlando Magic Saturday. Like many others, they had performances for the fans’ viewership. A thing to note was a video at half-time of China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang celebrating the new year and to continue celebrations in the United States — his first public message to the U.S. since his appointment as foreign minister. Gang also made a point to talk about the Wizards’ relationship with China since they were the first NBA team to visit the nation back in 1979. 

As celebrations continue for the next two weeks, a lot of professional sports teams across the world are partaking in Lunar New Year and creating a welcoming environment for all their fans who celebrate it.