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.