Trivia Corner


Rice for Life and Love

By Gladys Pinky D. Tolete

Perhaps one of the things that distinguishes Filipinos from other cultures is our immense love for rice. No full meal is ever deemed complete without rice, and rice has been attributed to the rapid formation and development of pre-colonial communities. The country's landscape is dotted with wide plains of rice paddies.

Rice also figures prominently in our wedding practices. During pre-colonial times, handfuls of rice is exchanged between the Filipino couple to solemnize their marriage. Social status was said to be measured by the quantity of rice a family had stored.

Nowadays, as the newly-weds step out of the church after the ceremony, they are greeted by showers of rice grains from their well-wishers. This practice traces back to the Middle Ages where the Christians adopted the Jewish practice of throwing handfuls of wheat over a newly-wed couple to insure fertility. Wheat was soon after replaced with rice because the latter was plentiful and less expensive.

Aside from "rice showers," there is also another custom involving this so-called grain of life. While preparing for the wedding, the bride-to-be assembles little bags of rice which she saves for herself and her future family. It is believed that these bags represent the future wealth of the family thus the bags are well preserved.

Rice has always played an important symbolic role in the Filipino culture – it symbolizes life, generosity, wealth, and in this case, love and a fruitful union.

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Source:

A Bridal Bouquet – Truly Asia Sitagita.com http://sitagita.com/catinteractives/wedding/wedding.asp Fernandez, Doreen G. Beyond Rice. Manila: 1998. http://www.ceu.edu.ph/centennial.htm (Centro Escolar Univ. Official Site) Traditionally Speaking. http://weddings.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa122297.htm