Le Fabarie, the throwing of beans that brought good luck

Throughout the year they were an impure, almost untouchable food. The first month of each year, however, they became the protagonists of a strange ritual called Fabarie, which ensured the luck and fertility of the fields.

The bean throwing

These were rituals that took place on the first day of each month and that, according to the Roman people, brought serenity to the population. They were called Calende and consisted in offering beans to the Gods as a sign of good omen.

In June, however, this strange ritual changed its name and turned into Fabarie. It was very similar to the usual Calende but, in this case, fresh beans were offered to the gods, freshly picked from the fields. They were thrown in front of their temples or in front of the statues themselves, to ensure luck and fertility in the fields.

An untouchable food

It’s important to point out that beans were only an important food on the first day of each month. The rest of the month, they were considered unclean and, in some cases, even untouchable.

Precisely for this reason, they were then thrown before the Gods. The priests then could not get close to their flower, because according to ancient beliefs it symbolized death. The beans were in fact foods that accompanied the deceased on their last journey, that is, at the time of the funeral ceremony.

They were even used by witches and wizards to prepare their spells and their hexes. They were therefore products that brought bad luck just by looking at them.

Over the centuries, however, things have changed. In the Middle Ages, for example, they became a particularly popular food.

It seems that in these past historical moments, the beans were hidden inside some cakes, which were then served to diners. The lucky one who found them was the king of the party who was supposed to dance with a queen.

The goodness that overcomes the misfortune

It’s really hard to believe that at one point in time, everyone feared beans. Afterall, they are a food that has been part of the Roman tradition for centuries.

Today everyone goes crazy for the combination of beans with pecorino. There are also those who like cooked broad beans accompanied by crispy bacon, even though the most popular ones are probably still those eaten the “old way”; that is, just peeled, salted, and finally eaten together with a good piece of aged pecorino Romano. A real treat.