Hindus associate rice grains with Goddess Annapoorni and also Goddess Lakshmi. It is referred to as Deva Dhanya and is believed to be a symbol of prosperity. From ancient times, Dhanya Lakshmi is often depicted holding a few sheaves of paddy in her hand.
There are numerous festivals connected with the sowing, planting and harvesting of rice. Major harvest festivals include Pongal in Tamilnadu, Onam in Kerala and Hutri in Coorg.
Akshata (rice mixed with turmeric) forms part of many religious rites and rituals. It is even offered to deities along with flowers.