What is a Masonic Festive Board?

The Masonic Festive Board has indeed become a staple event at the Masonic Con, and even a few Masonic Symposiums, but the history behind it goes back much further. In the storied history of Freemasonry, the year 1717 marked a transformative milestone—the establishment of the Mother Grand Lodge in London. A driving force behind this historic moment was the desire to institute the Annual Feast, transcending the mundane to become a true celebration. Fast forward to the present day, and the essence of that festal spirit finds resonance in the revival of the Masonic Festive Board. This article delves into the rich history that birthed this tradition, emphasizing the importance of bringing back this event as a vibrant celebration of brotherhood.

A Feast, Not Just a Dinner:

In the words of our forefathers, the Festive Board was envisioned as more than just a meal; it was a celebration, an occasion for brethren to come together over good food in congenial surroundings. Unlike the stilted ceremonies of a table lodge, the Festive Board was designed to be an outpouring of emotion and brotherhood, a genuine celebration of the Masonic journey.

The Historical Tapestry:

In the 18th century lodges, the Feast held a prominent place, with members seated at the table throughout the Communication, even during degree conferrals. This festal spirit nurtured Masonic fellowship, creating an environment where acquaintanceship, friendship, and affection could flourish. Masons cherished their lodges, bringing gifts that ranged from furniture to regalia, transforming the lodge into a warm, comfortable home full of memories and affection.

The Call to Bring Back the Festive Board:

The call to revive the Festive Board in its truest form echoes through the words of H. L. Haywood, who highlighted the importance of Masonic fellowship. He emphasized that a lodge should be more than a machine for work but a vibrant entity that nurtures good fellowship, brotherly love, and warmth. The Festive Board, with its celebratory nature, becomes the beacon that lights the fire of Masonic camaraderie.

Modernizing the Festive Board:

The time is now to bring the Festive Board back to our fraternity, not confined within the walls of a lodge but held in private rooms at restaurants. This modern adaptation encourages brethren to invite members from other lodges, creating a true celebration of brotherhood and conviviality. The emphasis is on an entertaining guest speaker, ensuring a lively atmosphere without the constraints of formal rituals. The joys of the Festive Board ritual has even been worked in to be a staple of the Masonic Conference circuit as well. We will not going into what a Masonic Con is here but the two events have blended together nicely and proved to be a well respected modernization of accepting and respecting the age old traditions of our fraternity.

The Resounding Tradition of Cannon Fire Toasts:

At the heart of the Festive Board experience lies a resounding tradition—the cannon fire toasts. These thunderous salutes are not mere gestures; they are symbolic acts that harken to historical rituals and convey the gravity of the moment. Each cannon fire toast is a salute to Freemasonry, paying homage to its enduring principles and the brethren who have walked the Masonic path throughout history. The resonance of the cannon echoes the unity and strength of the Masonic fraternity, leaving an indelible mark on the collective memory of those in attendance.

A Call to Rediscover Masonic Fellowship and Tradition:

As we journey through the history and vision of the Masonic Festive Board, it becomes clear that this tradition is more than a ceremonial dinner; it is a celebration of the very essence of Freemasonry. Reviving the Festive Board is an invitation to rekindle the warmth, good fellowship, and brotherly love that have defined Masonic lodges throughout history. Let us heed the call to bring back this vibrant celebration, ensuring that our lodges remain not only places of work but also homes filled with memories, affection, and the indomitable spirit of brotherhood.

Elevate your Masonic journey—reserve your seat at the next Festive Board. Embrace the celebration and join us in reviving the warmth, camaraderie, and enduring traditions of Freemasonry.