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Scattering the flowers is thought to placate demons in many countries particularly in the Far East, being associated with death and the spirits of the dead. If one bean in a row should come up white instead of  green, an English tradition associates this occurrence with death, and in the south west it was once believed that 3 May was the best time to plant kidney beans to ensure a successful crop.

Broad beans were thought to possess the soul of the dead, and when in flower it was believed that accidents were more likely to happen. If it was a leap year it was thought that the bean would grow upside-down. The shape of the bean was thought to be associated with death and ghosts. Scattering some around the outside of the house would stave of such attentions for 12 months.

Broad beans have also been associated with forecasting the future. A European belief was that three beans should be prepared in different ways to produce an outcome and then hidden on Midsummer Eve for the enquirer to find.  The untouched bean indicated wealth, the half-peeled bean indicated a comfortable life, whilst the third fully peeled bean indicated poverty. The future was revealed by which bean was found first.