Double Happiness in Chinese Weddings
“Double Happiness” is a common Chinese design motif and ornamental design that is used during Chinese weddings as a celebratory decoration. It was created by taking the Chinese character for joy 喜 (xi)，repeating it twice and joining them together which represents your happiness doubling with marriage.
Double Happiness is word design that is used primarily for wedding celebrations and to uniquely represent marital happiness. It isn’t a character/word in everyday use but more like a design that represents an idea that used a character as the starting design element. (got that?)
So nobody would say “double happiness” in conversational wedding wishes, but you would see the design used to celebrate weddings—almost always in red the sign of good fortune in Chinese culture.
The Double Happiness motif has allegedly been in use since the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) according to its origin legend (unable to tie this to any historical record so we aren’t linking to the legend found around the internet until we have a more reliable source).
Today the design motif is still currently widely used to decorate and celebrate contemporary weddings throughout China and in the worldwide Chinese diaspora.
One of my favorite examples of Double Happiness’ endurance in Chinese culture and wedding celebrations throughout time—even the most politically and culturally turbulent of times such as the Cultural Revolution—is how during 1969 a wedding tin with mangoes and Double Happiness was THE most politically correct wedding gift. (Archives of Asian Art (Vol 57, 2007)) see photo above for example.
The design is such a common part of your everyday visual landscape in China you can see it on cigarettes (pictured above), on doorways (so you know a family just recently celebrated a wedding) and has led to a great array of variations on a theme—which I love (see some examples pictured above).
Since nothing says congratulations and best wishes on your wedding more concisely than the Double Happiness design motif, Tranquil Tuesdays is so pleased to offer Paper Tiger Shanghai’s cool contemporary take on the Double Happiness design as a gift paper gift wrap option on all purchases from the Tranquil Tuesdays online store.
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