Have you seen the Double Happiness embroidered patches I recently added to the website?
Double Happiness is an auspicious (lucky) Chinese Symbol made up of two copies of the Chinese character 喜 shown below, which means love, joy and happiness.
There are two copies as the number 2 is lucky; Chinese believe that ‘good things come in pairs’.
It's a commonly used symbol in Chinese weddings for everything!
The symbol is also gifted to the married couple to bestow upon them a blessing of good luck for their marriage.
Double Happiness used in a wedding backdrop
Double Happiness used on the sleeve of a traditional wedding dress
Double Happiness embroidered on a traditional wedding dress
The story of the Double Happiness Symbol
The symbol itself dates back to the Tang Dynasty, a golden age of Chinese arts and culture (618 to 906 A.D).
According to legend, there was a student on his way to the capital to take an examination, after which the top scorers would be selected as ministers of the court.
Unfortunately, the student fell ill along the way as he passed through a mountain village. But thankfully, an herbalist and his daughter took him to their house and expertly treated him.
The student recovered quickly because of their good care. However, when the time came for him to leave, he found it hard to say goodbye to the herbalist's daughter, and so did she—they had fallen in love with each other. So, the girl wrote down half of a couplet for the student:
"Green trees against the sky in the spring rain
while the sky set off the spring trees in the obscuration."
With that, the student left to take his examination, promising to return to her.
The young man ended up scoring highest in the examination. The emperor recognized his intellect and, as part of the interview that followed, asked him to finish part of a couplet. The emperor wrote:
"Red flowers dot the land in the breeze's chase
while the land colored up in red after the kiss."
The young man realized immediately that the girl's half-couplet was a perfect fit for the emperor's, so he used her words to answer.
The emperor was delighted with this response and appointed the young man as a minister of the court. Before beginning the position, however, the student was allowed to pay a visit to his hometown.
He ran back to the herbalist's daughter and told her the story of the two half-couplets coming together perfectly as one. They soon wed, and during the ceremony, they doubled the Chinese character for "happy" on a red piece of paper and placed it on the wall.
And so it has been used for weddings ever since!