You probably love the Olympics as much as I do, though we love it for different reasons. I enjoy seeing the aspects of culture presented in the host country’s opening and closing ceremonies, and that was showcased in the recent Winter Olympics through the cute mascots, Shuen Rhon Rhon and Bing Dwen Dwen. Here are some interesting facts about them, and their meanings in Chinese culture.
What you should know about both characters
Both mascots were designed by Jiang Yufan and Cao Xue, two Chinese designers. They were unveiled to the public on 17th September 2019 after winning a design competition that started in 2018, and all medalists in the Winter Olympics were given these mascots as stuffed toys.
Meaning of Bing Dwen Dwen
Bing Dwen Dwen is a panda, the national animal of China. His traits include a deep love of winter sports, a kind heart, and an icy suit that gives him his name. The meaning of his name is unclear, although his Mandarin characters lend the meaning of ‘ice hulu’.
His Mandarin name ‘Dun’ is a homophone of a similar word in the Tianjin dialect, which means ‘tanghulu’, a traditional Chinese winter treat. His first name ‘Bing’ means ice, and shows his strength and purity, which are both characteristics that the Winter Olympics was meant to show. His second set of names, ‘Dwen Dwen’ means cuteness, liveliness, and health, which are symbols of the inspiration, tenacity, and strength Winter Olympic athletes show through their sports.
His design is inspired by the speed skating hall, showcased through the colorful ring around his face. His heart also shows that he welcomes all athletes from around the world, and he has a full-body ‘shell’ that he uses when skiing, snowboarding, and skating alongside the athletes. All these are attributes of Chinese people as well since they are shown to be hospitable to athletes, cheer them on, and embrace the latest technologies in use at the Olympics.
Meaning of Shuey Rhon Rhon
The mascot of the 2022 Winter Paralympics is Shuey Rhon Rhon, an anthropomorphic Chinese lantern. In Chinese culture, the lantern is a symbol of light, warmth, celebration, and bountiful harvests. His design uses a unique shape on his head, which is a sign of happiness, and his body has recurring patterns of the legendary Temple of Heaven and doves of peace that show the positive characteristics of the host country and encourage peaceful friendships.
He also has a decorative pattern set, which highlights the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting. His face has some snow highlights as well, which fulfill two meanings: one is showcasing the cuteness of his face and emphasizes his anthropomorphic design, and the other is to show the meaning of an ancient proverb stating that fruitful years are promised by falls of seasonable snowfall.
Shuen Rhon Rhon and Bing Dwen Dwen are both popular mascots and show the creativity and promise of Chinese people and their hospitality during major events such as the Olympic Games.