There are so many customs in each religion and even more traditions. In every wedding you get invited to, you see something new being practiced, but all good and happy. But one of the odd yet most common tradition is throwing rice. But why do they throw rice at weddings?Is it for religious meaning, or is it an old tradition being passed in many families? We will go through all of those and even explain where this tradition is more common than others.
If you have been to many weddings, chances are you have already seen it, and maybe even asked them why they do it. But most of the time, the answer is a bit different, but their meaning and history remain the same.
Throwing Rice May Hold Deep Meaning for The Family
If you look at the wedding tradition being performed, you will notice that they do this slightly differently. Some do it at a different time; some have a more fun way of doing it, while others do this as a necessity.
Nonetheless, this tradition holds deep meaning to all the people. Currently, this tradition can most commonly be seen in South Asian parts and some Celtic cultures. They believe it marks a good start for the newlyweds and has other things.
- For Indian weddings, some do this tradition from the bride’s perspective, showing her respect and love for her parents. It also appreciates their hard work in growing her up and feeding her with food and unconditional love.
They believe that since the bride has gone to her new household, appreciating her parents and saying goodbye in this manner is the best way to move into her husband’s house and focus on him.
- In other South Asian parts, they perform this in ceremonies to show the parents love for their daughter and vice versa. The daughter appreciates their efforts and shows how much their love meant for her in her life. Although many people take it as an exaggeration, rice is used to signify wealth and prosperity in these parts of the world. So, rice is the best option for this tradition.
However, other people do this tradition by throwing other things because rice is not the only thing; what’s important is the meaning.
This Custom Is as Old as Christianity
For a brief history, the oldest record of this tradition dates back to the ancient Celtic people. Even though they were known as warriors, they were also agriculturists and took their work very seriously. They had a tradition of throwing rice and barley, maize, and other crops during weddings. This was a mark of fertility, happiness, new life, and overall prosperity.
Not only that, but the Celtic people performed this type of tradition on many occasions. Whenever they had to offer to the spirits or deities, they used their crops because they showed a significant meaning.
Since then, this tradition has been passed and recognized by many people of a different culture, and those who like it perform it in their forms. There are many modern ways of performing this tradition; some use sugar and candy, while others do confetti or pompoms. There are no limitations as long as you do it wholeheartedly.
Is Throwing Rice at Weddings Harmful?
Many people believe this is harmful to animals and nature, and some venues even stop people from doing this tradition. However, it is still done in many places. But are the claims that it is harmful, right?
They are most certainly not because animals like birds have a daily diet of eating grains like this. So, eating uncooked rice or anything else is not bad for them; in fact, it’s even better to feed them more and help the environment.
The claims state that rice gets expanded and isn’t digested in pigeons’ stomach, but it’s scientifically proven that it’s false. On the other hand, people allow confetti and sweets, which are bad for animals and the environment. Some confetti is biodegradable, while most of them are plastic and shouldn’t be used at all.
So, the reason why we throw rice at weddings is much more sensible and correct when you look at other modern traditions.
Throwing Rice at Weddings Is Becoming More Common
If you tell someone about this tradition, the chances are that they know many people who do such traditions. It doesn’t have to be rice, but since rice is easy to acquire and holds better meaning than other materials, it’s more common. Seeing these traditions inspires others to do the same, and when people of different cultures marry each other, they also introduce and mix their traditions. Centuries of this tradition being mixed in has brought it in almost every country. Although only a minority performs this in each country, it’s becoming more and more common.
Some Things You Need to Note When Doing This
Even though it’s a common tradition, some people don’t know about it and might be confused when they see it. So, it’s better to take care of some things before proceeding with it.
- Tell your guests that you are doing this, so some can even help you by participating, and if someone has unusual allergies, they can back away for a while and watch from a reasonable distance.
- Have someone ready to clean up the rice because people might end up slipping on rice and injuring themselves, depending on the floor.
- If you are doing this at a venue, make sure that this tradition is allowed, so there are no problems in the end.
Whether you know about this tradition or now, it has become more common, and you should be prepared to see it anytime soon at a wedding. Also, to answer your question, “why do they throw rice at weddings” depends on the culture and the people because everyone holds different meanings and performs this in different ways.
But the origin and the general idea remain the same. It brings prosperity, fertility, and good luck in future life.