The Significance of Rice in Wedding Rituals


If you have ever attended a wedding, chances are you have witnessed a moment where the guests throw grains of rice at the newly-married couple as they make their way from the ceremony. You probably have even participated in this particular wedding ritual. Known as the rice toss, this tradition dates back a thousand years ago. Learn more about its history and significance in this article.

What is the Rice Toss and When Did It Start?

The rice toss is a symbolic wish of prosperity, fertility, and happiness to the newlywed couple. As a blessing, guests shower the married couple with grains of uncooked rice as they exit the ceremony. This practice has been around for thousands of years, predating Christianity.

During those times, marriage not only meant building a family but also meant increasing assets. Rice and grains symbolized fertility, prosperity, good harvests, good luck for newborns, and everything in between. The Celts were an agronomist culture and tossed rice to ask the spirits for blessing and fertility for the couple. The ancient Romans used wheat or oat seeds in their own wedding rituals before moving on to using rice in the Middle Ages as they believed rice helped women get pregnant and it pulled away evil spirits.

The Significance of the Rice Toss

Similar to ancient times, the significance of the rice toss is still the same in the present. Throwing rice at the newlyweds at the end of the ceremony is seen as a lifetime blessing of good fortune. It should be noted that different cultures have their own take on the toss.

While rice and grains were predominantly used, other cultures threw different crops such as corn and seeds. In Italy, the practice is done with candies or sugared nuts. In Morocco, dried dates or figs are used, while Eastern Indians rain down flower petals on the newlyweds.

Simply put, no matter the culture, it is a tradition for family and friends to shower the newlyweds with good wishes as they step into their new life together.

Do People Still Practice the Rice Toss Tradition?

In recent times, tossing rice as a wedding ritual has been on the decline for a variety of reasons. Many couples today choose to remove the rice toss from their ceremony as it has been reported that the grains get stuck in the bride’s and groom’s ears while the guests throw them. There are also wedding venues that prohibit the use of rice due to cleaning and safety reasons.

Additionally, now that we live in modern times, some couples choose to be welcomed in a different way. Rose petals, confetti, bubbles, sparklers, autumn leaves, and such are just several of the equally-festive and creative ways to send off a newly-married couple.

Final Note

The rice toss is a wedding ritual that symbolizes well-wishes and blessings for the newly-wedded couple. Guests toss rice as the couple exits the ceremony, sending them off with a good fortune. This practice dates back to ancient times and while it is still done in many weddings all over the world, fewer and fewer couples incorporate it in their wedding due to a number of reasons.