One of the most anticipated rituals of a wedding is the time when the newlywed couple comes out from the church to be greeted by a flurry of sparkly, colorful shreds of paper. It paints a joyous and vivid picture that makes any wedding ceremony memorable.
But where did this unusual custom come from? Many people are amazed by the sight of gaudy shreds of paper floating over the newlyweds, but only a few really understand the reason behind this tradition. Although many people think that it only serves the purpose of aesthetics, there’s actually a deeper reason to why people throw confetti, rice, or petals to welcome the newlyweds.
The word “confetti” actually originated from the Italian word that means “confectionary.” When the Italians come across the word “confetti,” they picture sweets such as candied fruit or sugared almonds, which are usually handed out during special events.
But the question now comes in – what do the Italians use to refer to the shreds of paper most Americans know as confetti? The answer is “coriandoli.” This could have been the case especially during hard times as in the war, when sugar and paper were scarce. Instead of using sugar or paper, coated coriander seeds were used as confetti during celebrations.
Throwing confetti to the newlyweds is a dated custom that can be traced to the ancient times. The purpose of throwing seeds or grain over the newlyweds is to wish their marriage would become as abundant and fruitful as the grain. People from the olden times believe that the couple will be as fertile as the seeds thrown over them.
Also, it’s one way of expressing to the couple that you wish to sprinkle their union as man and wife with blessings.
Nowadays, colorful sheets of paper are used instead of seeds or grain. Throwing seeds or grain may not be appealing to all couples. Just imagine the newlyweds stepping out of the church in a shower of nuts.
More environment friendly versions of the confetti include flower petals – dried or fresh – as an alternative to sheets of paper. Scented confetti is a popular choice nowadays, and one can also use herbs that represent something (basil=love, lavender=devotion). This option provides a more romantic and dreamy scene, which makes a more meaningful and memorable wedding ceremony.
So the next time you see a newlywed greeted by a shower of confetti, you’ll know the reason behind this custom.