1st Grade - Social Studies

LESSON PROBLEM: What customs and beliefs are there for rice?


Rice is very important to people. It is a tiny grain that is more than just something to eat.

Rice has been around for many, many years. The tiny grain is important to people around the world. It is important to the customs of many people.

Asia is a continent where much rice is grown. Rice has been grown in Asia for thousands of years. A long time ago the people of Asia prayed to a rice goddess. A goddess is a female god. The people believed that she had power over nature and them. They offered her gifts at planting time so that their crops would grow well.

They did the same thing at harvest time. The gifts were to make sure that there would be lots of rice for the next year.

Bali is a small island in Indonesia. The people of Bali build small shrines in the rice paddies or fields. Shrines are like altars. The people hope they will have lots of rain and a big harvest. They give rice cakes to the rain gods at the shrines.

Japan is a country surrounded by water. A very old tradition begins the very important rice planting festival.

The emperor starts the festival. They eat rice noodles for special occasions like birthdays and the New Year. They believe that rice brings good luck.

A special custom in India is a thanksgiving celebration for the rice harvest. The thanksgiving ceremony is called Pongal. They also have other festivals to celebrate rice. People decorate their doorsteps to welcome visitors. They use colored rice grains and make patterns on the door.

Rice is eaten as part of many celebrations. In China, the people eat a special pudding called Eight Treasure Rice Pudding. It is a sweet pudding with candied fruit, nuts and dates in it.

In the United States and many other countries rice was thrown at weddings. The custom was to bring good luck to the bride and groom.

Rice is an important grain. It is valuable to many cultures. It is included in many people's customs, beliefs and traditions.


Make Stars in the Night Sky.

You will need:

yellow rice (dyed)

black construction paper

liquid white glue


1. Put small blobs of glue all over the black construction paper.

2. Sprinkle the rice on the blobs.

3. Let dry.

4. Shake off excess rice.

You have a beautiful night sky!

To add sparkle to your sky, add a little gold glitter to the rice.


On a world map, show the countries where rice is eaten.


  • culture
  • custom
  • festival
  • goddess
  • paddies
  • island
  • tradition
  • emperor
  • occasion
  • celebration
  • ceremony

Click here to play Rice Rampage!
American Rice:
More than 90% of the rice eaten in the United States is grown by U.S. farmers.
Click here to learn more about where Rice is grown in the United States.
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