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Wedding Traditions: Broom Jumping

August 31, 2015 by The Marquardt Ranch

Weddings are, arguably, the biggest celebrations of your life.  They are like your last big birthday party and a graduation and Christmas all rolled into one.  So many of the fabled wedding traditions we’ve profiled over the last few weeks only add to that celebration.  They help to focus the bride and groom on the true meaning of their wedding, but they also point to the new chapter about to unfold.  These traditions invoke feelings of anticipation and excitement in your guests and in you.

As we wrap up another series this week, we hope it’s helped to remind you to celebrate the everyday throughout your wedding planning process.  Don’t forget to enjoy each moment: of the food tasting, the program ordering and the actual walk down the aisle. Celebrate each step–both the old and new.

That is exactly what today’s wedding tradition does: it celebrates.  The broom jumping that is commonly seen at African American weddings has its origins in Ghana, Africa.  The broom itself is symbolic of new beginnings: sweeping past the old to make way for the new.  Some weddings used to incorporate the broom throughout the ceremony as a way to ward off evil from the bride and groom’s future.  Today, in a post-slavery era, it is used simply at the very end of the ceremony to signify the brand new life they are stepping into.

Not only does the broom jumping make way for the new future of the bride and groom, it also honors the richness of the past. It signifies the heritage and families from which the two have come. It remembers the days in which African American wedding ceremonies were not seen as legitimate in the eyes of the law.  African American slaves often performed a simple “broom jumping ceremony” instead of the traditional full wedding ceremony.  Keeping broom jumping alive in today’s weddings helps to commemorate and honor ancestors with dignity and respect.

Today, broom jumping has several meanings.  It is new beginnings and a new chapter and a new home and a new life.  It is celebration and memorial for the past and the future.  It is a symbol of happiness for the bride and groom, jumping together into whatever is ahead with both feet.  May all your weddings–whether with a broom jump or not–be celebrations of what’s to come with the one you love beside you.


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