The Origin of Throwing Rice at Weddings

July 21st, 2014

We know about wedding traditions but never the origin.  We need to understand the history and the reasons why these time-honored traditions occur instead of doing it because everyone else is doing it.  One wedding tradition is throwing rice at a couple after kissing the bride.  It showers down on them as they exit the area.  One answer is the bridesmaids hated the dress.  While this rumor seems sensible, it isn't true.  Here's the real reason why guests throw rice at the happy couple. 

Throwing rice goes back to the ancient Romans who threw wheat.  Wheat represents fertility or childbirth.  During this time, dried corn and oats were thrown too.  The Egyptians, Hebrews and Assyrians continued the wheat/oats/corn tradition because of their belief that the couple will have a bountiful life.  The Middle Ages is responsible for replacing wheat with rice, which resembled fruitfulness in childbirth.   The Tudor era in England threw shoes at the married couple.  Tribal cultures believed rice brought the couple together in matrimony.  In addition to these traditions, throwing rice is believed to provide prosperity and keep evil spirits away from the bride and groom.  

Today's weddings don't make throwing rice mandatory.  It stopped because of the possibility that birds died if they eat the rice.  It remains an option for couples to consider because the possibility turned out to be false.  Because of slips, falls and painful impact, guests can also throw rose petals, flower petals, birdseed or blow bubbles at the couple instead of rice.  Some venues have banned rice because it makes a mess and guests don't clean it up after the ceremony.  Noisemakers, streamers and confetti are also acceptable alternatives at weddings.  Foreign countries will throw rice, wheat or candy at the couple.  Some weddings forgo the tradition.  There are no wrong answers.