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88: The Symbol of Love and Happiness

Dating back to the ancient Tang Dynasty, the Chinese character for double-happiness, appearing as two 8s, has been hung in the homes of Chinese newlyweds because of their unshakable belief in the power of 8 to bring good fortune.

The story begins with a young student on his way to the capitol to attend the national final examination. From this, only the top are selected to become ministers in the court. The boy falls ill on his journey and is taken in by a doctor and his daughter. Thanks to their kindness, he recovers quickly. However, he finds it hard to leave because he has fallen in love with the doctor’s daughter. She too has fallen for him, and so shares with him a couplet. He leaves her to take the examination with promise to return. The emperor interviewed the boy during his test and asks him to finish a couplet. The boy realizes that the young girl’s verse is the perfect fit to the emperor’s and recites it with pride. The emperor is so impressed with the boy’s talent that he names him Minister of the Court. He is allowed to return home before reporting to his new post and the boy meets with his first love. The two marry and celebrate by decorating the wall of their home with a symbol of double-happiness. They use red paper to cut the Chinese character for ‘happy’ twice in a connected symbol to express their joy for both their love and luck. And so a tradition was made.

Still today, Chinese couples use the symbol to decorate their weddings and to bless their homes.

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