The symbol of Double Happiness is an expression that the bride and the groom are to be united, as well as their families.
The “Double Happiness” symbol is usually found displayed at Chinese wedding celebrations whether in a traditional or more contemporary setting.
The Double Happiness symbol is composed of two standard Chinese characters. Each of the characters that denote happiness is written as “hsi” or “xi” in Mandarin. In the case of the Double Happiness sign, the two “XI” characters signify the happiness of the newlywed couple that are about to spend their lives together. Pronounced as “shuang-xi”, the sign generally stands for marital happiness.
Note that the Double Happiness sign is not used in regular Mandarin writing, but is only observed for marital union invitations and declarations.
The Story of “Doubled” Happiness
The story of the Double Happiness sign originates from a student’s journey during the Tang Dynasty. According to the story, a young man who was about to take a final examination but became ill on his way to the capital city. Fortunately he was helped by a herbalist doctor and his daughter. However, the girl did not just help him to heal she also made him fall in love with her.
Because the girl was in love with the young man, she wanted to make sure that the he was her perfect match. So before the boy left for the capital city, the girl wrote a part of a rhyming couplet on paper, with the hopes that the young man can find his perfect match.
At the examination, the young man was able to achieve first place. When the emperor came to assess the young man’s skill, he asked him to finish a couplet. Fortunately, the part of the couplet that the emperor gave the boy was the missing match to his love’s rhyme.
The boy recited the part of the couplet that the girl wrote for him. Pleased with the young man’s answer, the emperor made the young man one of his Ministers. But before taking his post, the young man went back to the girl and recited her couplet’s match.
Then they got happily married. During their traditional Chinese wedding, the couple wrote the character “XI” twice on a red piece of paper. They posted it on the wall and since then, that double “XI” became the Double Happiness sign, symbolizing the “doubled” happiness that the couple felt because of their union.