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The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
17:28, July 09, 2008


Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, the Five Friendlies will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace--and blessings from China--to children all over the world.

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, the Five Friendlies also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals--the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow--and the Olympic Flame.

In China's traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest. And so Beibei carries the blessing of prosperity. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life. The ornamental lines of the water-wave designs are taken from well-known Chinese paintings of the past. Among the Five Friendlies, Beibei is known to be gentle and pure. Strong in water sports, she reflects the blue Olympic ring.

Each of the Friendlies has a rhyming two-syllable name--a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together--Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni--they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of the Five Friendlies as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

The Five Friendlies also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature--the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky--all stylistic rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.

Spreading Traditional Chinese Blessings Wherever They Go

In the ancient culture of China, there is a grand tradition of spreading blessings through signs and symbols. Each of the Five Friendlies symbolizes a different blessing--and will honor this tradition by carrying their blessings to the children of the world. Prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck will be spread to every continent as the Five Friendlies carry their invitation to Beijing 2008 to every part of the globe.

At the heart of their mission--and through all of their work--the Five Friendlies will seek to unite the world in peace and friendship through the Olympic spirit. Dedicated to helping Beijing 2008 spread its theme of One World, One Dream to every continent, the Five Friendlies reflect the deep desire of the Chinese people to reach out to the world in friendship through the Games--and to invite every man, woman and child to take part in the great celebration of human solidarity that China will host in the light of the flame in 2008.

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