"We decided to produce five mascots instead of one, because we think no single figure can embody China's profound and diversified culture," said Han Meilin, chief of the mascot designers' group.
Each of the Beijing Olympic mascots 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 these names are put together —— Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni —— they say "Welcome to Beijing".
The five elements of nature —— the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky —— can be found in their origins and headpieces, all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.
Each of the mascots also symbolizes a different blessing —— prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck.
syllable n. (语言学)音节 mascot n. 吉祥物
rhyming n. 压韵 Tibetan Antelope n. 藏羚羊
swallow n. 燕子 headpiece n. 帽子，头盔
ornamentation n. 装饰品 folk art n. 民间艺术
prosperity n. 繁荣 stylistically adv. 文体上