The torch relay and its traditions
The torch relay of the Chinese 2008 Olympics was a representation of its ancient traditions and ties with its communities. The scroll was embroidered with the famous Chinese patterns that incorporate aspects of religion and its culture. The torch had red ancient patterns and was carried for 130days. The theme for the relay was the journey of harmony, in which China sought to reinforce the harmony within its communities and the ancient traditions that bring them together. The torch was the longest in the history was relay torches, having achieved the furthest distance since the torch relay tradition began. It showcased the respect the Chinese have in their ancient tradition and how it continues to form the basis of its existence even in the contemporary atmosphere (Price & Dayan, 2008). However, even though the torch represented the harmonious journey of the Chinese people, it was marked by several protests from the people. They saw the irony of the torch and the long controversial issue of the Chinese and human rights policies. China has been criticized for not embracing human rights and has been in the limelight for the same. Therefore, the protestors did not see how the torch of harmony represented the views of the Chinese government.
The cultural representation of the number eight
The Chinese culture reverberated throughout the opening ceremony with many exemplary performances that showcased its traditions. For instance, the ceremonies began at 8. The number 8 is a symbol of the Chinese culture. It symbolizes its prosperity and Uniqueness in its culture. The Olympic Games began at eight minutes past eight o’clock. They were held on the eighth of 2008. The number eight represents the eight diagrams that are derived from the Chines book of changes (Xu, 2008). The book contains several traditions that are revered by the Chinese and has been passed from generations. It still plays an imperative part in how the Chinese operate. The ancient China philosophy is based on the number eight that highlights how relationships were formed. The young were taught to obey the elderly at all costs, and the same is still in play in modern China. The number represented the common Babai relationship that means that respect has to be accrued to one’s elders. In addition, the talent of eight buckets was an ancient theory in China that showcased an individual who had many gifts. Most of the individuals were involved in activities such as healing. Therefore, the number eight in Beijing 2008 was not coincidental, but a representation of deep ancient culture. In fact, the digit eight is the Chinese lucky number.
The manifestation of Chinese religion
China has had no particular religion for centuries. It is a nation that is represented by many religions, majority of whom practice Taoism and Buddhism. As a result of the mixture of Chinese religion, there was the use of different aspects of all the religions represented in China. There are many theories about the atheism in China because all their religions do not embrace the existence of God. As a result, bibles were banned from the 2008 Olympics (Findling & Pelle, 2008). The Christian athletes were not supposed to go into their camps with bibles. Aspects of the Confucianism religion could be depicted in the ceremonies, even though a pronounced representation of any religions had been banned. For instance, the number eight was mainly adopted from the doctrines of Confucianism. In addition, there were symbols of the Buddhist forms of worship in the opening ceremonies. However, these representations were done with discretion because of the mixtures of religions. They only sought to represent the majority of followers of the two religions in China. The Olympics was an eye opener to the world on the extent of atheism in China. They practiced religion as a form of culture and not as a form of worship. All the above came to light in the 2000 Olympics.
The use of cultural symbolism
One of the symbols used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics is that of a lantern and a dancing human being. The symbol is red in color. It represented the traditional festival in China that has been in their midst since ancient times. The Chinese would gather annually for the celebration of life and communal sharing (Latham, 2009). The occasions that brought them together were also marked by ceremonies where the lantern was a symbol of joy. As such the symbol was used to showcase a celebratory time in the Chinese history. The Olympics was a time that brought them together, which was ideal for the use of the lantern. There was also the use of the environmental symbol of Chinas appreciation for the preservation of nature and greenness. It also sought to show that China, as opposed to criticism, has valued greenness from the ancient days.
The culture of communism
A representation of the 20,000 performers on the opening night depicted the economical journey of China and how it has substantially shaped the Chinese way of life. The journey was represented in an enormous scroll of the history and traditions of China, and how they shaped its economy. Even though the country had been heavily criticized of its socialism nature that made millions of people poor and a handful rich, the country was founded upon sharing. China showcased that it sought to adopt a capitalist economy, but its culture was founded upon the principles of sharing for which communism advocates.
Findling, J. E., & Pelle, K. D. (2008). Encyclopedia of the modern Olympic movement. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Latham, K. (2009). Pop culture China: Media, arts, and lifestyle. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Price, M. E., & Dayan, D. (2008). Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the new China. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Xu, G. (2008). Olympic dreams: China and sports, 1895-2008. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.