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Myths and legends – The mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras believed that some souls, on leaving the body, entered beans, and thus refused to consume them or to walk in a field of beans.
Three days of the year, the head of a Roman household went through the ritual of spitting out 3 beans to rid the house evil spirits.
Ghosts were said to run shuddering from the smell of beans, and in the middle Ages, it was thought that spitting a mouthful of beans in a witch’s face destroyed her powers.
The goddess Ceres, when gifting agriculture and plants to mankind, set aside the bean as being unworthy of her gifts. Roman priests refused to name them as the name was unholy.
The writer and orator Cicero thought beans corrupted the blood and inflamed the passions.
The Oracle would not eat them lest they cloud the vision.
In the South west of England, it was said the best time to plant them was the 3rd of May, and if one bean in a row came up white instead of green, there would be a death, while scattering the flowers placated demons.
In Italy, beans are distributed among the poor, on the anniversary of a death.
The Jewish high priest is forbidden to eat beans on the Day of Atonement (Grieve)