Symbolism Defined Through Social Class


Anthropologist Dana Reed-Danahay unintentionally discovered a wedding ritual that is rooted in Lavialle, the heart of Auvergne region in France. This region is considered to be rustic, back country with lower class peasants occupying the territory.

La rotie is a ritual presented as a rite of passage for newly weds. To perform the ritual a chamber pot is filled with a mixture of champagne and chocolate. The pot is brought to the newly weds by unmarried youths on the night that their wedding took place. The youths tip the bed that the couple is laying in and make them drink from the chamber pot. The youths then drink from the chamber pot after the couple. The whole ritual is meant to be rowdy and obnoxious.

The chocolate and champagne mixture symbolizes urine and feces. Other fowl objects and food are added to the mixture to make it disgusting. The interesting thing is that this ritual is actually mocking what champagne and chocolate mean to upper class French. For upper class, these decadent treats are meant to be rich and noble foods. The poorer class twist this meaning in a way where the prized food is now undesired feces and do it in a way where they are acting out of control compared to their richer counterparts. This just shows the way social class plays a role in defining certain foods and objects.