Beijing Olympics: Olympic Mascots
Beijing Olympic Mascots (Fuwa)
Official Mascots of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
(M Beijing Olympic Committee beijing2008.com)
The Olympic Fuwa are the official mascots of the Olympic Games. The colour of the mascots link to the colour of the Olympic rings. The mascots represent peace and good wishes to all who visit Beijing for the Olympic Games.
The five cheerful characters resemble four animals from China as well as the fire from the Olympic flame. Their names are Beibei, the blue fish, Jingjing the black panda, Huanhuan the red Olympic flame, Yingying the orange Tibetan antelope and Nini the green swallow. When the first syllable of each name is put together you get Beijing huan ying ni which means 'Beijing welcomes you'.
Additionally the Fuwa also represent the five traditional elements of nature: sea, forest, fire, earth, sky. This is seen in the origins of the five characters and is represented in their individual headpieces.
The good wishes that these playful characters bring to people around the world as they invite you to join the fun and excitement of the Olympic Games include the traditional wishes of prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck. The playful, friendly Fuwa are intended to also touch the hearts of all people in the spirit of the Olympics to unite people in peace and friendship as we follow the theme of 'One World, One Dream.'
Looking closer at the ancient culture and art of China the water and fish design elements of Beibei are the symbols of prosperity and harvest. The fish also represents having surplus and is traditionally seen on decorations at the start of the Lunar New Year wishing a good year and a good life ahead.
The black and white Jingjing brings smiles to faces of children everywhere when they see this playful character and is said to bring happiness to all. Jingjing represents the protected panda species adored by people the world over. The lotus designs in the headdress remind us of trees and the wish for harmony between man and nature.
The passion of sport is represented by the character of fire, Huanhuan. This central character is the core spirit of the Olympics with the light and warmth of fire that brings warm wishes to all as they join in the Olympic spirit of the Games.
Yingying the antelope brings the speed and agility of sport to mind. Yingying is a symbol from China's vast landscape and brings wishes of harmony with nature and blessings of health. The antelope was the first protected animal in China so Yingying reflects a green Olympics. Traditional elements of Tibetan and Qinghai ethnic design adorn this quick athletic character's headdress.
Just as we see kites swooping and soaring from the hands of young and old Beijing folk in the seasons of spring and summer we are reminded of the origins of their designs in the wings of China's playful swooping swallows. The golden wings of the swallow are seen represented in the headdress and bring the blessings of good luck wherever Nini soars.