Your wedding ceremony is the most romantic time of your life. You’re surrounded by family and friends, about to say your vows and then — someone throws rice at you? Yup. It sounds bizarre, but a rice toss at weddings has a long history and there are some good reasons for it.
Some people even consider throwing uncooked rice bad luck because it’s so old-fashioned; they prefer paper or flower petals, maybe even candy and sugared nuts instead. But whether you throw rice or not is up to you! Here are some facts about these wedding traditions.
Many People Believe That Rice Is a Symbol of Fertility and Prosperity
Many people believe that a rice toss at a wedding ceremony or venue symbolizes fertility and prosperity. It has been used this way for centuries, since Asian cultures started using it as a food staple.
Rice is a feature in many traditions that dates back centuries in China. It was used as an offering to the gods during religious ceremonies or festivals, which may explain why it’s so often associated with weddings.
Some people think throwing grains of wheat was originally used to ward off evil spirits that were believed to be associated with disease and famine. Some cultures also believed that these spirits would attack newlyweds during their first night together if they weren’t properly protected.
Nowadays, when you throw rice at a wedding, you wish the couple good luck with their future together. You’re letting them know that you hope they will be able to have many children and live an abundant life.
The Romans Are Partly Responsible
Some suggest the Romans are partly responsible for the rice-throwing. When a bride and groom married in ancient Rome, the wedding guests would throw wheat at their nuptials to bless them with fertility. The “tossing of grains” has been a common practice throughout history — from ancient Greece and Rome to modern France and other European countries.
The ancient Roman tradition of tossing coins at the bride and groom is similar. It was believed that throwing money into the water would bring good luck, so wedding guests wouldn’t do a rice toss. Instead, they tossed wedding coins into lakes near where they lived.
Grains were a major commodity in ancient times and were part of daily life. As a result, throwing it became a sign of prosperity when thrown at wedding parties. People believed that throwing rice and other grains brought good luck and fruitfulness in childbearing.
In some regions, rice throwing symbolized protection. It is believed that some evil spirits also attend weddings. They believe the evil spirits come to steal the joy and happiness of the couple, thereby truncating the mood of the day.
So according to legend, wedding guests will throw rice and other grains at the couple to distract the evil spirits and confuse them from placing any curse on the newlyweds.
People Used to Throw Wheat
While a rice toss is a more popular wedding tradition than wheat these days, you may be surprised to learn that it wasn’t always so. In fact, the two were once interchangeable, and not just because they’re both grains.
In the days before rice was widely available in North America, wheat was thrown instead. It’s also why some religions still use wheat as an important crop. It symbolizes fertility and abundance.
The word “wedding” comes from an Anglo-Saxon meaning “to pledge,” which refers to the exchange of goods between families before clergy or government officials formalized marriage ceremonies. When you think about it this way, a rice throw makes perfect sense!
Is Throwing Rice Harmful?
Some people worry that throwing rice at weddings is harmful to birds who may eat it. The belief that birds would get sick and even die from eating the rice stems from a 1996 Ann Landers column. An act prohibiting the hurling, casting, throwing, and flinging of uncooked rice at weddings in and around Connecticut, USA.
Fortunately, this has been proven false, though rice can still be difficult for venues to clean. Be mindful of this when choosing whether or not to include the tradition in your ceremony.
Aside from the bird explosion myth, other harmful events may arise due to the rice-throwing practice. This includes slip and fall hazards, rice getting stuck in the eye, or any vital parts of couples or other guests.
Throwing rice at weddings has therefore declined in its popularity, although still practiced in some societies and cultures.
Check out these other wedding traditions:
- Viking Wedding Traditions You Didn’t Know
- Wedding Traditions and Customs
- Cuban Wedding Traditions We Love
Another Wedding Rice Throwing Theory
Another theory holds that a rice toss represents prosperity and wealth, thus throwing rice at weddings marks the transition between one stage of life and another:
- From singlehood to marriage
- From being supported by parents or guardians to supporting oneself
- From having very little money or property on your own to having much more
Rice may be seen as an expression of hope for good fortune during this new life chapter!
How Should the Rice Throwing Be Done?
Do you love the idea of throwing rice at weddings and will love to incorporate it into your wedding plan? Do you have questions regarding the best time to do it and how to go about it? Then let’s find you some answers here. Read on!
When to throw Rice?
It is better to schedule it as the last event of the ceremony. So you should shift the rice throwing to the end of the reception exit as you walk the aisle back to your waiting car.
Once you have the choice of when to do it, ensure to include it in the wedding program of events. This is to ensure everyone is on the same page at the wedding and aware of the event on the program.
Where to Toss Rice?
Aside from making it easier to clean up and less messy. Doing rice toss provides better lighting for the photography and videos. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding; outside adds beauty to the event.
It also lowers the risk of some of the hazards mentioned earlier. For example, tossing rice on tiles is pretty dangerous, as one can easily slip, fall, and possibly break something. But it will be less harmful when done outside.
Who Will Clean Up the Mess?
While it is all fun throwing rice at your wedding celebration, you must remember that it will definitely leave the venue messy. You don’t want to start your marriage leaving public properties dirty.
So you must figure out who will clean up the mess after the party. You can ask the wedding center if they’ll provide cleaning services, or you have to get someone to handle it immediately when the celebration ends.
How Will the Rice Be Provided?
The final question is how you will convey the rice to your wedding guest. Here is a quick idea, you can make paper cones or anything that suits your wedding theme and have the ushers hand them to the guest as they arrive.
What Are Some Alternatives to Rice?
As some venues do not allow rice, they will often offer alternative suggestions. This may include dried flowers like roses or lavender, biodegradable confetti or glitter, or even tiny bells. Some couples opt for bubbles or sparklers for their sendoffs instead.
Why Do People Throw Rice at a Wedding?
So, why do we throw rice at weddings? Well, there are many theories about it. The most popular one is that rice represents fertility and prosperity. It is also believed that rice at a wedding symbolizes abundance, which brings good luck to the newlyweds. However, there is no unmistakable evidence of these beliefs or how they came about! We can only guess why people started doing this strange tradition.
Whether you incorporate rice into your wedding details or believe the tradition is outdated, let the wedding bells ring!