The Festive Board is the Masonic name for the dining which follows the Lodge meeting. The Director of Ceremonies acts as the Master of Ceremonies. At the Festive Board following your Initiation you will, in most Lodges, sit at the top table next to the Worshipful Master. The next time you will sit there will be when you are installed as the Worshipful Master in your own right.
After Grace is said by the Chaplain, there are a number of traditional Masonic toasts that are observed throughout the evening and always include the Queen, the Grand Master (GM), the Provincial Grand Master (PGM) and may include the Initiate of the evening, referred to for the only time as Brother Initiate, and the visitors. The Tyler’s toast is the final toast of the evening and is for all poor and distressed brethren. This toast signifies that formal proceedings have ended.
It is expected that each person present who is toasted will respond to his toast and in so doing acknowledge the Master, the proposer of the toast and all the brethren assembled. On no account should anything of a vulgar, lewd or disrespectful nature be included in a speech.
The fare offered at Lodge Festive Boards varies considerably. Some have a simple main course and dessert, whereas some have many more courses and wines.
Virtually all Lodges have bar facilities where they meet although there are some tee-total, or ‘dry’, Lodges. It is the Stewards’ job to see every brother is well catered for, but excess consumption should be strictly avoided.
Although the Festive Board is the relaxed social part of the evening the conduct of the brethren should always be of a standard acceptable to all Freemasons.
The Festive Board offers every member a unique opportunity to broaden and cement friendships within the fraternity and for one Lodge to form bonds of friendship with another.