USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘wasting food’
Folk Beliefs
Magic

Wasting rice leads to acne on your future spouse’s face

“I’ve heard this from some of my other friends, too, but if you have leftover rice, what my mom told my sister and I is that each grain of leftover rice is going to be acne on your future significant other’s face. When we were younger, she used to tell us that. I wasn’t sure if it was to scare us or if it was a joke, but it definitely got us to not waste rice.”

Background Information and Context:

As the informant said above, this is something that her mother would tell her to warn her against not finishing her rice. The superstition comes from China, and she has heard from other Chinese friends that their mothers have said the same thing.

Collector’s Notes:

This is an example of a superstition that is connected to a people’s way of life. In China and South East Asia, rice is a culinary and economic staple and – especially for poorer families – wasting rice is highly frowned upon. For an example of multiplicity and variation, I recall that my own Vietnamese mother always told me that a wasted grain of rice means that you’re going to hell. It is not hard to see how the same sentiment of not wasting food can be taught in a grave manner (like my mother’s warning) or a much less severe warning for young girls (like the informant’s version).

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