Food Symbolism, A Sociocultural Phenomenon: A Case of the Marriage Rite of the Bemba People of Zambia

Prince F.M. Lamba (Florida State University)

The traditional symbolic preparation of food items in the (betrothal stage of the marriage ritual cycle) of the Bemba people of northern Zambia is an instrumental rite of passage, whereby the bride and groom become a couple and their families are united. Through the process of serving food to the groom and his family, the bride and her female family members symbolically "teach" the groom and his family about her family's food traditions, a performance that displays, through food, key Bemba values. The paper elucidates the different components involved in Bemba marriage rites, focusing on foodways, a traditional and symbolic way of welcoming the groom into the bride’s family.

Part of 07-14 Sounding Board 2: Foodways, Saturday, November 04, 8:30 am–10:00 am