Cheers to That
A toast to fraternity and fellowship.
Masonic tradition tells us that our ancient brethren received among their wages wine for enjoying during the hours of refreshment. Besides being one of the few safe and potable drinks available at the time, wine of course brought with it a feeling of happiness and well-being. Its consumption by Masons at social events—in moderation—promoted good will and camaraderie.
In the 17th and 18th century, Masonic lodges often met in rooms above taverns. Members would retire downstairs after their labors to refresh themselves with food and drink. From there, many early “table lodges” and festive boards were developed, with Masons offering toasts to various people, places, occasions, and ideas. It was in just that sort of congenial environment that four tavern lodges in 1717 in London created the first Grand Lodge.
Masons have come to understand the special place that drinks hold in our fraternal interactions. We have evolved our regulations to avoid intemperance and excess. We admonish our stewards and wardens at their installation to maintain lodge propriety during the hours of refreshment. In modern times, the sharing of a drink at lodge dinners, receptions, festive boards, and in table lodges can enhance our sensory awareness and deepen the bonds of true friendship between brothers. Even during the pandemic, our Saturday night toasts on Facebook have brought huge numbers of brethren together from around the world to share a moment and raise a glass.
As Masons, we are taught the importance of refreshment and repose in maintaining a productive and useful life. Drink, enjoyed with prudence, can augment those benefits. The Great Architect has supplied us with a means. We must follow our Masonic principles to keep ourselves within due bounds as we enjoy the fruits of his bounty.
Whether it be a whiskey or a cabernet, or even just a root beer, enjoy a favorite glass with this special issue! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!
More from this issue:
A small-town California lodge makes a big-time impact.