One of the most ancient forms of the wedding ceremony was to have a priest bless the wedding bed to insure the fertility of the union. It was the custom of many Near Eastern peoples to throw grain upon the newlyweds; this was a magical rite which was supposed to insure fecundity. Certain Oriental peoples used rice for this purpose. Childlessness was greatly dreaded, and since barrenness was attributed to spirit machinations, efforts to insure fecundity also led to the association of marriage with certain magical or religious ceremonials.  Primitive women desiring children embraced sturdy trees.