Superstition about eating all the rice in your bowl

Main Piece:

The following was transcribed from an interview between the informant and the interviewer:

 “Each grain of rice left in my bowl would become a pimple on my future husband’s face.”


I collected this piece of folklore during an over the phone interview. My informant is a Chinese American who resides in California. My informant’s mother used to tell her this when she was growing up and they would eat a bowl of rice with many of their meals. So, this superstition was meant to encourage her to eat all of her rice.


My informant told me that she believed her mother used to tell her this warning when she was a child before she hit puberty. So, it’s interesting that this was mainly used as a warning before she would have known that many people with pimples. It’s also interesting how this superstition glorifies appearance and romance. This superstition makes the assumption that it is important for young girls to want attractive husbands when they are older. The informant also told me that her mother would say this specifically to her not to her brother. This shows how marriage is deemed as a more important goal in a female’s life a male’s.