Exploring the World of Jumping Brooms in Weddings: Sometimes the best “something borrowed” part of a wedding comes from a tradition that is full of honor and joy. Today, many black couples still do this beautiful and meaningful ritual to honor the people who gave so much for their love and freedom, even though slavery is over. When African Americans get married for the first time, they honor their ancestors by following certain traditions. We talked to the founder about these traditions.
How “Jumping the Broom” came to be
Different cultures have different ideas about what it means to “jump the broom,” which is one reason why its origins aren’t completely clear. At first, people thought the practice came from Ghana, a country in West Africa. There, brooms were thought to have spiritual meaning and to sweep away evil spirits and past wrongs.
- It was thought that waving a broom over a couple’s heads while they were getting married would keep ghosts away.
- Historians now think that the tradition of “jumping the broom” may have come from Britain, where it was forced on African slaves by their European owners.
- However, there are many records of enslaved couples in the American South willingly using broomsticks in their wedding ceremonies in the 1800s.
- Slaves did not have the same marriage rights as free people, so jumping the broom was seen as the next best way to bless the marriage and make it official.
- As Gebreyes Endale points out, this was a common way for slaves in the South of the United States to get married in the 1840s and 1850s, when they were often not allowed to legally get married.
- “The act can mean a fresh start and letting go of the past.
- It can also mean joining two families together or showing respect for family ancestors.” Not only that, but some descendants still chose to “jump the broom” to make their marriage official instead of having an officiant.
Today we are jumping the broom.
Some Black couples today choose to jump the broom as a way to show they are connected to their ancestors. Gebreyes Endale says, “Jumping the broom is an old wedding tradition in which the bride and groom jump over a broom during the ceremony.
” Traditionally, the newlyweds jump the broom after saying “I do” or after the officiant gives them a short speech. Many times, brooms are passed down from generation to generation, given as gifts to the couple, or bought by the couple.
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