In this week’s blog entry on wedding traditions explained, we dive into the tradition of throwing rice after a ceremony. Most people of course don’t throw rice anymore, but only because some venues won’t allow it. But those that do, it’s been an on-going ritual for hundreds of years!
Throwing Rice – Wedding Traditions Explained
Tossing rice is a custom from the ancient world that has long been popular in the United States. Everyone, even young children, can gleefully participate in the post-ceremony practice that symbolizes the showering of abundance and fertility on the bride and groom.
The rice is considered a “life giving” seed. It is thought that by throwing it on the couple they will be bestowed with fertility and have many children.
It is thought to have come from the Orient, where rice is a household symbol that signifies a full pantry. So another way to think about the meaning of this tradition is wedding guests through out the ages have thrown rice to demonstrate their wishes for the prosperity of the new bride and groom. It was also believed that to shower the couple with grain was to wish upon them a ‘fruitful’ union. The fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the couple on whom they fell.
While nearly all cultures have showered the wedding couple with symbolic food to ensure fertility, for many years it was rice that was used in America. Today, however, this sport is considered dangerous as someone could slip and fall when walking on the grains. Environmentalists say that rice can harm birds, being hard for them to digest. However, there is also biodegradable rice now on the market, making it possible to again use rice.
If you don’t want to use rice, you can borrow other ideas from around the world. In France people throw wheat, a symbol of bounty, after the ceremony. Italians rain candy and sugared nuts over couples, for sweetness in marriage. As an alternative, you can use birdseed, potpourri, or confetti. Tie the birdseed into the rounds of a net. Coordinate the ribbon used to tie the packets with your colour scheme. Or, packages of confetti can be passed out. For a different effect, non-staining bubble soap is available and the small bottles can be personalized with the couple’s names.
For a less conventional display, how about giving your guests flower petals or paper airplanes made of lightweight patterned papers? If you prefer that guests not toss anything, use the decorative paper to make banners attached to long, thin dowels, for waving in the breeze. Guests can also blow bubbles, or serenade you with little bells or other noisemakers.
We hope you enjoyed this blog entry on the tradition of throwing rice. If you have questions about your wedding, or would like to know more about traditions, feel free to contact us here at Kalifornia Entertainment. We are well-versed in many different types of traditions, including ones from different regions and cultures around the world.