BSC Folklore

Angel Foam

Source: The sisters of Pi Beta Phi sorority, collected by Meghan Pruitt

Description:

Angel Foam is the Alabama Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi's unofficial drink, served every year during Recruitment. The recipe is kept a secret from unmarried sisters—one only receives the recipe on her wedding day. Married alums have to come and make it for the sorority members and serve to potential new members. candle

Simon Bronner talks about rites of passage in his book on campus folklore, Piled Higher and Deeper. He notes Greek initiation ceremonies and graduating college as the more obvious rites of passage, pointing out that events such as those mark a status change: from pledge to active, from student to graduate—engagment/marriage denotes the same thing for women, espeically sorority women. When a sorority woman gets engaged, her entire chapter holds a candlelighting ceremony, where everyone stands in a circle and passes around a candle until the engaged sister reveals herself by blowing out the flame. Of course, when a fraternity man gets engaged his brothers tie him to a tree and hose him down. Whether the act is blowing out a flame or having water sprayed everywhere, both situations represent the overall acknowledgement by the community of a status change in one of their members.

On a college campus like BSC, sororities serve as support networks for their members. As a family away from home, sorority members share strong bonds of friendship and a sense of belonging and purpose—that is, until a sister becomes engaged to be married. The the woman in question no longer “needs” the emotional cushion her sisters offered her. By getting married, the woman makes the transition out of “college life” into true adulthood. As a wedding present, the Alabama Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi gives the bride a silver punch bowl and the secret recipte for Angel Foam. Like the candlelighting, this token symbolizes a status change in the sister. As she goes from Miss to Mrs, so must her sorority honor her with the gift of knowing that she has passed into the echelon of those who know to how to make Angel Foam.

Work Cited
Bronner, Simon J. Piled Higher and Deeper: The Folklore of Campus Life. Little Rock: August House, 1990.

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