Chinese cultural exchange groups unveiled the country's first ever official mascots on Sunday for the all-important Chinese lunar New Year.
The two mascots, named "Nián Wá" and "Chūn Ní", meaning New Year Boy and Spring Girl, are based on characters form traditional woodblock prints widely seen as symbols of good luck and happiness.
Chūn Ní and Nián Wá also symbolize a balance of yin and yang, and the patterns on their costume – a bat and two fish respectively – are signs of longevity and prosperity according to Chinese folklore.
Li Hanqiu, a Professor of classical Chinese literature with Peking University, says this could be a way for the world to better understand Chinese culture.
"We are announcing official symbols and mascots for the Spring Festival because we hope through modern communications means to share traditional Chinese culture to everyone and let it take root among all Chinese people. We also hope to attract a bigger fan base among young people, and make the festival more popular and accessible for the global audience.
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