Origins: We throw confetti or rice to wish the happy couple a fruitful marriage. (Thrown rice, by the way, does not pose a danger to the little birdies who hang out at wedding venues. It's not necessarily a good idea to fling rice about for other reasons, though.)
The well-wishers' showering of the pair with colored bits of paper or dried grain acts out the community's desire to see the newlyweds showered with blessings from above, with those blessings interpreted as a houseful of children.
Corn, wheat, and rice have been put to this purpose, and so, surprisingly, have nuts. (It is more common, however, to hand the bride a package of nuts rather than throw them at her, but it has been done both ways.) A further custom is to present the bride with a little pot of fresh butter once she makes it home. The butter signifies abundance of all good things.
Barbara "butter makes it better" Mikkelson
Last updated: 27 June 2005
Hole, Christina. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. ISBN 0-76070-228-4. Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-19-282-916-5. Pickering, David. Dictionary of Superstitions. London: Cassell, 1995. ISBN 0-304-345350. Tuleja, Tad. Curious Customs. New York: Harmony Books, 1987. ISBN 0-517-56654-0.