Jumping The Broom: An Old Wedding Tradition for A New Life

Getting Married at Voodoo Doughnuts photo by T R. Licensed under CC 2.0, text added.

Something Borrowed and… a Broom

June is traditionally a time for weddings.  The new Bride needs something old, something new, something borrowed, and…. a broom. The tradition of “jumping the broom” has been around for hundreds of years. It has become a special blessing that the couple takes as they make their leap into a new life together. In many ways it is a symbol and a legacy that people continue today.

Over the years “jumping the broom” has been associated with African-American weddings because, as slaves they were denied access to traditional ceremonies and so much more. African-Weddings.com says that today “ Broom Jumping is a ritual, handed down from generation to generation to remind us of a time when our vows were not legally sanctioned.”

Staff Only by John Loo. Licensed under CC 2.0

Some people consider the ritual to be an honoring and remembrance of the ancestors, while others choose to omit this because it is to painful reminder of the basic privileges denied slaves. The custom is not really an African-derived one at all. It gained popularity during slavery in the U.S. and has found a recently revival in the past few decades. Re-creating meaning and tradition when so much has been lost over the years is a difficult business.

Dawn Aiello in her post about wedding superstitions talks about the difficult significance of the broom. Traditionally the broom has been a magickal tool used for removing negativity and cleansing your space. The custom of using a broom in weddings seems to come from a Celtic, specifically Welsh tradition, referred to as a “Besom Wedding.” It was brought to the U.S. in the 1700’s and revived in the 1970’s with it’s inclusion in the popular television mini-series Roots.

Crafting Your Wedding Broom

There are many websites that will sell you a ready made broom to jump over for your ceremony. Some wedding brooms have cowrie shells for prosperity, sunflowers for joy, orchids for sweet love, or other magickal elements. If at all possible try to take the time and effort to craft your own broom. The original “jumping the broom” ceremonies of slaves took place in front of the entire community making it one of their few opportunities for celebration. You can even make yours a family and friends affair, by asking each one to tie a ribbon or charm to the broom, symbolically adding their own blessing to your new life.

More, More, More

Many of you may be planning your own delightful June weddings, my brightest blessings to you on your sacred union. If you would like more information about crafting your own version of this ancient ceremony please check out the following resources:

Jumping the Broom: The African-American Wedding Planner by Harriette Cole

Jumping the Broom in Style by Thony C. Anyiam

If you’re thinking about crafting your own wedding, or helping someone with theirs, please share the broom jumping blessings in this article, Best Wishes !



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About Lilith Dorsey

Lilith Dorsey M.A. , hails from many magickal traditions, including Celtic, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American spirituality. Her traditional education focused on Plant Science, Anthropology, and Film at the University of R.I, New York University and the University of London, and her magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo. Lilith Dorsey is a Voodoo Priestess and in that capacity has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons, is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly , filmmaker of the experimental documentary Bodies of Water :Voodoo Identity and Tranceformation, author of Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism and The African-American Ritual Cookbook, and choreographer for jazz legend Dr. John's "Night Tripper" Voodoo Show. She believes good ritual should be fun and innovative, and to that end she led the first ever Voodoo Zombie Silent Rave Ritual in July 2013, complete with confused Thriller flash mob.