“Double Happiness” is a popular Chinese character. The symbol is a favorite sign that represents love, happiness and good luck. Prominently displayed at weddings,, you can find it everywhere – invitations, the cake, table decorations and even wrapping paper! It’s often represented in paper cut outs as well as on red pieces of paper. Like many facets of Chinese culture, there’s a tale behind its origins.
During the ancient Tang Dynasty, a young boy was travelling towards the capital to attend a national final exam. If he did well, he would be selected as a minister in the courts. On the way to his exam he suddenly fell ill and was taken into a house where an herbalist and his daughter lived. The boy recovered quickly with the herbs that the herbalist and his daughter had given him.
While there, he had fell very much in love with the herbalist’s daughter. When he left, the herbalist’s daughter wrote part of a couplet for the young boy: “Green trees against the sky in the spring rain while the sky set off the spring trees in the obscuration.” He promised to come back to her after his examination.
The boy took the exam and passed. He received the highest score! The emperor then tested and interviewed the winners. The boy was asked to finish a couplet, which needed a right part to finish. As the emperor wrote “Red flowers dot the land in the breeze’s chase while the land colored up in red after the kiss.” The boy realized that the herbalist’s daughter’s part fit ideally with this. Without hesitation, the boy answered with the girl’s couplet. The pleased emperor made the young boy the minister of the court. As part of the reward, the emperor allowed the boy to visit his hometown before assuming office. The boy then met with the girl and told her the emperor’s couplet. They then married.
On their wedding day, the couple both doubled the Chinese character of happy to express their delight. From then on, it became a social custom.
What are the symbols in your life that represent happiness?