Bean-feast, primarily an annual dinner given by an employer to his workmen, and by extension, colloquially, describes any jollification. The phrase is variously derived. The most probable theory is that which connects it with the custom in France, and afterwards in Germany and England, of a feast on Twelfth Night, at which a cake with a bean buried in it was a great feature. The bean-king was he who had the good fortune to have the slice of cake in which was the bean. This choosing of a king or queen by a bean was formerly a common Christmas diversion at the English and Scottish courts, and in both English universities. This monarch was master of the revels like his congener the Lord of Misrule. A clue to his original functions is possibly found in the old popular belief that the weather for the ensuing twelve months was determined by the weather of the twelve days from Christmas to Twelfth Night, the weather of each particular month being prognosticated from each day. Thus the king of the bean of Twelfth Night may have originally reigned for the twelve days, his chief duty being the performance of magical ceremonies for ensuring good weather during the ensuing twelve months. Probably in him and the lord of misrule it is correct to find the lineal descendant of the old king of the Saturnalia, the real man who personated Saturn and, when the revels ceased, suffered a real death in his assumed character. Another but most improbable derivation for bean-feast connects it with M.E. bene "prayer," "request," the allusion being to the soliciting of alms towards the cost of their Twelfth Night dinner by the workpeople.

See Wayzgoose; misrule, Lord of; also J. Boemus, Mores, leges et ritus omnium gentium (Lyons, 1541), p. 222; Laisnel de la Salle, Croyances et légendes du centre de la France, i. 19-29; Lecoeur, Esquisses du Bocage normand, ii. 125; Schmitz, Sitten und Sagen des Eifler Volkes, i. 6; Brand, Popular Antiquities of GreatBritain (Hazlitt's edit. 1905), under "Twelfth Night"; Cortet, Fêtes religieuses, p. 29 sqq.



The term bean feast was spoken by Miss Veruca Salt, during her rant at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Tempers flared as she demanded numerous, unobtainable items... most notably, said bean feast. She went on to demand that her bean feast be filled with "Cream buns and donuts and fruitcake with no nuts". This was unheard of at the time, since as we all know, fruit cake always has nuts.

Additionally, the British pop group XTC make reference to a Bean Feast in their song "We're All Light" from the album Wasp Star in the lyric "just a couple of lips away is an evolutionary Bean Feast whose insides are jumping".

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bean|feast — «BEEN FEEST», noun. British. 1. an annual dinner given by employers to their workers. 2. any festive occasion; feast: »I have never enjoyed such an emotional beanfeast (Punch). ╂[< bean + feast; probably because beans were served on such… …   Useful english dictionary

  • bean feast — n BrE informal a party or celebration …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bean feast — noun A variant spelling of beanfeast …   Wiktionary

  • bean-feast — noun A variant spelling of beanfeast …   Wiktionary

  • bean feast — noun (C) BrE informal a party or celebration …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • bean-feast —  Good time (usu. with eating) …   A concise dictionary of English slang

  • bean-feast — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Montpelier Bean Feast — The Bean Feast was a much loved annual event in Montpelier, Bristol, UK in the 18th century. [1] ref. Mary Wright Montpelier A Bristol Suburb Phillimore Co. Ltd ISBN 1 86077 284 6 References ^ Thomas Rennison styled himself Governor of the Colony …   Wikipedia

  • Feast of Fools — The Feast of Fools, known also as the festum fatuorum , festum stultorum , festum hypodiaconorum , or fête des fous , are the varying names given to popular medieval festivals regularly celebrated by the clergy and laity from the fifth century… …   Wikipedia

  • feast — Synonyms and related words: High Holiday, High Holy Day, Lucullan feast, Mardi Gras, Sabbath, Saturnalia, Sunday, allay, anniversary, appease, assuage, bank holiday, banquet, bean feast, beano, birthday, blow, blowout, board, bread, bread and… …   Moby Thesaurus