There are gods in Rice

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Chinese
Age: 18
Occupation:
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 20 April 2019
Primary Language: Chinese
Other Language(s): English

Background Info/Context:

Yigi and I were chatting about things that parents have said to their kids to make sure they were being studious, obedient, or respectful. She told me about a story that she heard that parents told children to make sure they finished their food.

 

Piece:

Yigi – “Parents would tell me that in each rice, there lives a little god. And if you waste any, they will be upset and bring you bad luck, so you have to finish your food.”

 

Sophia – “Did you believe that as a kid?”

 

Y – “Uh, my parents didn’t tell me that story, and a friend of mine told me about it.”   

 

Thoughts:

Children, including myself, don’t usually think about waste and often have tendencies to leave one bite of food, or be greedy and spoon a lot onto their plates and not end up finishing at the end of the meal. This story was probably told to children to scare them into finishing all of their food, but more importantly, to not be wasteful. Luck is heavily tied in Chinese culture, and people try to bring as much of it towards them as they can, by wearing red, having statues of dragons, etc. So bringing about bad luck by wasting food would be squandering the other efforts they’ve put to bring luck to them.