China unveiled its enchanting Chinese zodiac mascot for the upcoming Year of the Dragon during a press conference in Beijing. This whimsical character, known as “Auspicious Dragon,” combines the majestic aura of the Chinese dragon with a charming touch of cuteness. Scheduled to herald the Year of the Dragon starting on February 10, 2024, this mascot embodies powerful Chinese cultural symbols such as success, honor, and luck.
The creation of Auspicious Dragon is part of the official “Happy Chinese New Year” mascot plan, a collaboration between China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). CAFA has been responsible for crafting each Chinese zodiac mascot since 2015. This captivating mascot will not only be a symbol but also a marketable character, with Alldaymall, a prominent Xi’an-based company, sponsoring its development. Alldaymall is known for its work on the Grand Tang Mall, a comprehensive traditional culture center and tourist attraction.
Designers and experts from various fields, including archaeology, art history, and modern art, came together to create Auspicious Dragon. The mascot’s main colors, red and yellow, were carefully chosen for their significance in Chinese tradition, representing luck and fortune. While Auspicious Dragon maintains the traditional artistic features of the Chinese dragon, it incorporates elements of Chinese culture, such as ingots, auspicious cloud patterns, and Peking Opera masks into its facial expressions and gestures. The aim was to infuse the sacred and solemn Chinese dragon image with a friendly and festive spirit.
At the press conference, Gao Zheng, Director General of the Bureau of International Exchanges and Cooperation of MCT, and renowned Chinese musician Tan Dun jointly unveiled Auspicious Dragon. This yearly Chinese zodiac mascot has become an integral part of global celebrations of China’s Spring Festival Lunar Chinese New Year.
In 2023, during the Year of the Rabbit, the “Lucky Rabbit” mascot was prominently displayed on electronic screens across Wellington, New Zealand, at the end of January. Even in Thailand, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha received a “Fortune Bag” featuring a rabbit toy from the Embassy of China in Thailand. These mascots not only enhance the festive atmosphere but also promote cross-cultural exchanges and goodwill.
As the Year of the Dragon approaches, Auspicious Dragon promises to bring joy, luck, and a touch of whimsy to the global celebrations of the Spring Festival, symbolizing the rich tapestry of Chinese culture and its aspirations for peace and happiness.