Jumping the broom is an African American wedding tradition that dates back before slavery. It originates in the West African country of Ghana and was brought to North America by slaves. The Asante valued the concept of sweeping away past wrongdoings and previous evil sprits.
Because slaves were unable to perform legal marriages, they adopted this wedding ritual to symbolize their union, to sweep away the old and invite the new. Simply, it is a new beginning.
Jumping the broom was not a regular custom amongst all slaves and it was preformed sparingly after emancipation. It was made more common thanks to the book and movie “Roots” by Alex Haley.
Current practice is to jump the broom after the minister has announced the couple married. “Jumping the broom” is a phrase still used to refer to getting married even though the act might not have been part of a wedding ceremony.
Various other groups like Wiccan, Gypsies and some other religions have also developed their own broom jumping traditions.
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Neal McFarlane is a full-time Toronto Wedding DJ ,VJ and MC who enjoys sharing his decades of knowledge to elevate every single event he can.