Weddings in India are full of rituals. While they may seem perfunctory or out of tune with our modern lives, there have deeply symbolic and spiritual or practical meanings behind them. During the vidai ceremony, the bride throws rice backwards before she leaves her parents’ house - these days it’s usually at the shaadi ka mandap. While this may seem like a cute, archaic custom, it also has a few significances attached to it.
1. A Token of Gratitude
By throwing rice backwards, the bride symbolically thanks her parents for the love she has been showered with since childhood and expresses her gratitude.
2. A Gesture of Acknowledgement
By throwing the rice backwards, the bride acknowledges the unconditional care and concern that her parents have shown her throughout her life.
3. A Prayer for Prosperity
Even as the bride acknowledges her parents' love she also wishes for their continued prosperity. The rice is symbolic of wealth, and her throwing it backward is meant to express her wish for her parents to never experience a lack in her absence.
4. Daughter as Goddess Lakshmi
In many Indian cultures, daughters are considered to be the manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. When the daughter becomes a bride and leaves her parents’ house for her in-laws she throws back rice to symbolically assure the parents that she will continue to grace their home in the form of material and spiritual prosperity.
5. Ward Off Evil
As the bride starts a new life she wards off evil by throwing rice behind her. Her parents encourage her so that she leaves all the negativity and spiritual debts behind, and enters her marital home with positive energy.