A Message Wrapped In Rice (China, Miao ethnic group)
The girls of the Miao ethnic group in Southwest China have a very unique method of communicating their love. During their Sisters’ Meal Festival in April—which is their equivalent of Valentine’s Day—the girls dress ornately and cook lots of sticky rice in four different colors, with the colors representing the four main seasons of the year. They then give the rice, rolled in a handkerchief, to the suitors who serenaded them.
If the man wants to find out if he has landed a girl, he must unwrap the handkerchief and sift through the rice. If he finds two red chopsticks, then good news: It means the girl likes him back. If it’s only one chopstick, then the girl has politely turned him down. Woe to the man who finds a garlic or chili: It means the girl has just flat-out rejected him. A girl who hasn’t made up her mind will put in a pine needle. That signifies her intention to wait for the man—provided he gives her more gifts.