Inspired from the Five Olympic Rings, five Fuwas, known as the Five Friendlies, will serve as the mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as announced on November 11. The Friendlies — five lovely and vivid animals native to China — are designed to carry the message of friendship, peace, and love to rest of the world while also expressing the best wishes for a harmonious relationship between human and nature.
Blending four of China’s most popular animals — the fish, panda, Tibetan antelope, and swallow — and the Olympic flame in their design patterns, the Five Friendlies look much like five little children holding hands.
Each of the Five Friendlies has a rhythmic two-syllable name — a traditional way of expressing affection for children. Bei Bei is the fish, Jing Jing the panda, Huan Huan the Olympic Flame, Ying Ying the Tibetan antelope, and Ni Ni the swallow. When put together, their names form the phrase “Beijing huan ying ni (Welcome to Beijing),” a warm invitation that reflects their mission as young ambassadors for the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Five Friendlies, whose origins and headgears imply the five elements in nature (the ocean, forest, fire, earth, and sky), also carry the dreams and aspirations of Chinese people. Their image designs, adopting the traditional way of expression in Chinese folk arts, vividly showcases the brilliant and profound Chinese culture.
A gift from China to the world and the Olympic Games, the Five Friendlies, like the Olympic emblem and slogan, express Chinese people’s aspiration for a peaceful, friendly, progressive, and harmonious world. Imbued with a strong Chinese flavor, the mascots embody the multinational characteristics of Chinese culture and the whole nation’s recognition of the harmonious coexistence of human beings and nature.
Extending Blessings to the Whole World
The Beijing Olympic Games mascots follow a long tradition of Chinese people delivering blessings through symbols. The Five Friendlies carry with them best wishes for happiness, passion, sound health, and good luck. Carrying the enthusiasm and hospitality of Beijing people, they are spreading the blessings to every corner of the world, inviting people from different countries to join in, enjoy, and celebrate the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
In traditional Chinese culture and folk arts, “fish” and “water” designs symbolize prosperity and harvest, and people often compare “A carp leaping over the dragon ‘s gate” to an accomplished career or the fulfillment of a dream. Besides, a “fish” pattern also implies “year-on-year surplus” or “abundant harvest year on year,” which means another good year and a good life. Hence, Bei Bei, the fish among the Five Friendlies, is the incarnation of prosperity.
Ornamental lines of water waves are employed in Bei Bei’s headgear. Gentle and pure-hearted, Bei Bei, reflecting the blue ring of the Five Olympic Rings, is believed to be a master at water sports
Jing Jing, a charmingly na?ve and optimistic panda, brings happiness to people wherever he goes. As a national treasure, the panda has always been a favorite of the world.
Having his origin in the vast forest, Jing Jing symbolizes the harmonious co-existence of human beings and nature.
His headgear features the lotus design, which is often seen on the ceramics of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Jing Jing is the symbol of strength, representing the black Olympic ring.