Jumping the Broom is an old wedding custom steeped in culture and rich in heritage irrelevant of race, religion & nationality and its origins vary depending on interpretation.
Jumping the Broom is said to be rooted in African culture, yet it is also attached to African-American tradition dating back to the slave days, and is also said to have roots in the Celtic culture, including but not limited to Welsh, Celtics, Druids, and Roma (Gypsies). So take your pick!
Jumping the Broom symbolically represents sweeping away your single lives and jumping into your married future. The wooden handle represents the strength of your commitment, the straw represents family, and the ribbons hold you together. The act itself represent love, togetherness, loyalty and respect – all key ingredients for the recipe of a successful marriage!
In the European interpretation, records of Jumping the Broom can be traced back to Wales as early as the 1700s where a symbolic ritual was used in weddings that were not recognised by the Church. One of these rituals was a Besom Wedding. A besom is a type of broom.
According to folklore, in order to be married, a couple had to jump over a broom that had been placed in a doorway – without touching the broomstick. This gesture is much akin to carrying the bride over the threshold A positive result meant that they were married.
It has also been documented that Jumping the Broom was a practice to defy witchcraft. The broom represented evil and witches but by jumping over the broom, the couple symbolised wedded love and defying evil and witchcraft.
Jumping the Broom is a fun yet meaningful way to end your ceremony. Get others involved by having them hold the broomstick for you. Remember – it’s a jump not a limbo! Wendy and Ashley did it just perfectly!
Photo courtesy of Ian Butler Photography