Throwing rice at a newly married couple is a very old tradition that may date back to ancient Rome or Egypt. Grains such as wheat and rice were thrown over the newlyweds to bring good luck,fertility and abundance. Throwing rice is also believed to help keep evil spirits away from the bride and groom.
While tossing rice became popular in America, many countries have had their own traditions. In Morocco, figs, dates, and raisins are thrown to encourage a "fruitful" union. Italians shower with sweets and sugarcoated nuts. In Korea, the groom's father tosses red dates to bring fertility. In France, wheat greets the happy couple. European countries throw eggs at newlyweds. Even an old Irish tradition has the couple being pelted with pots and pans in their new life.
In America today, rice has gradually been replaced with confetti or flower petals because of a concern for birds possibly getting ill from eating the grain. However, this theory proved to be unfounded by a University of Kentucky study done in 2002. Birds don’t have a problem eating the rice but people might have trouble walking on it!