Chinese Happiness Symbol xi3

Not "one happiness" but "double happiness"; that's the Chinese happiness symbolxi.

Look at these oracle bone drawings which show the original xi character

It looks like a drum on a square frame. The dots on both sides stand for the sound produced, signaling the beating of a drum on an occasion of celebration.

xi means "celebration" or "happy", "joyous" and "to like".

What more joyous or important occasion for celebration than a Chinese wedding?

The Chinese double happiness symbol is synonymous with marriage.

Red paper cuts of xi are pasted on doors and walls of Chinese weddings and in the bridal chamber.

"Double happiness" wishes the newlyweds marital bliss and to have children soon. xi is a symbol of fertility.

The Chinese happiness symbol is believed to bring such good luck that is widely used on everyday products.

A favorite cigarette brand in China has the double happiness trademark. A ping-pong bat I use in Singapore as a teenager goes by the brand "red double happiness", hong2 shuang1 xi3. The xi symbol is widely used as designs on bowls, vases, glasses and other household objects.

Common expressions of double happiness are

shuang1 xi3 ling2 men2

"double happiness is at the door" – often represented by the God of Double Happiness.

Also, xi3 shang4 jia1 xi3

"happiness upon happiness" which is symbolized by this motif. "Magpie" xi3 que4 has the same sound as xi3 "happiness". The call of a magpie signals the arrival of a guest, good news or good fortune.

Two magpies mean double-fold happiness shuang1 xi3.

Plum blossoms are graceful and symbolize beauty. A magpie resting on a plum branch conveys the wish "happiness before one’s brow" xi3 shang4 mei2 shao4. Both words "plum" and "brow" are pronounced mei2.

Another Chinese happiness symbol is "he2 he2 er4 xian1" "Gods of Unity and Harmony" representing marriage, love and concilliation. The fairy on the left is holding a walnut (pronounced he2 in Chinese) and the one on the right is holding a lotus flower (lotus is also pronounced he2 in Chinese). Both the walnut and lotus in Chinese sound the same as harmony he2. This is an example of a visual pun or rebus. So this statue of the two fairies is imbued with a happy and auspicious mood. (This statue is from the period 1911-1949)
Other Chinese happiness symbols

Mandarin Ducks (yuan1 yang)

Phoenix (feng4 huang2)

Qi Lin – an auspicious mythical creature


Spider (xi3 zi)






Melon and Seeds


Red Eggs

Four Happiness Boys

Chinese characters above: Happiness Descends From Heaven

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