Marriage is considered to be a sacred practice in almost every culture, and it’s becoming more and more common for couples to feature rituals and traditions from a variety of different cultures in their wedding ceremony. Whether it’s a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony or a Chinese Yam Seng toast, there are countless traditions you can incorporate into your special day. Here we’re going to explain everything you need to know about an ancient wedding ritual called Jump the Broom from its disputed origins, to how to do it.
What is the Jump the Broom Wedding Ritual?
The broom hopping tradition is said to symbolise a new beginning, whilst sweeping away the past. It is also said to signify two families becoming one. After completing your wedding vows, you quite literally jump into your new life together, leaving any old uncertainties behind. But best of all this is one ritual all your guests can get involved in, and makes for some cracking wedding photos.
Where did Jump the Broom Originate?
There are conflicting reports regarding the origins of Jump the Broom. There are some who believe the practice is rooted in the Celtic culture, as well as Roma, and is a popular Irish wedding tradition. Others believe it originated in West Africa, as brooms were often waved over the couple’s head to ward off evil. The broom was then placed on the ground and couple would jump over it. The ritual was also used widely during the period of African enslavement in America. Enslaved people would jump over the broom to bind themselves in marriage, since they could not legally wed.
What Type of Broom is Used?
As you might have guessed, the broom used is not the typical one you clean your house with. It is usually three feet long and has a wooden handle with natural bristles. Most couples customise their wedding brooms with silk ribbons, flowers, or lace. You can also ask guests to write their names on decorative paper to attach to the broom before using it in the ceremony. This is said to symbolise their well-wishes for the newlyweds. It’s customary then to save the broom as a keepsake, which you can hang in your home, or pass it down to future generations. It’s a lovely reminder of the moment you said “I do”.
How to Jump the Broom
- Make or buy a wedding broom (there are lots of options on Etsy here!).
- Decorate it with ribbon or lace.
- Ask guests to write a message on a gift tag and tie them onto the broom before the ceremony. This job should be delegated to someone beforehand!
- At the appropriate time, your celebrant will explain the ritual and ask you to come jump the broom together.
- Close your eyes, hold hands, and jump to the other side!
- Invite any guests who would also like to jump the broom to come up.
- Make sure your photographer and videographer knows it’s happening in advance so they have a great spot to get every funny facial expression!
Want to learn about more wedding traditions? Take a look at our Ultimate List of Wedding Ceremony Rituals.