“1, 2, 3…jump!”
1. If you’ve ever attended a black wedding, you may have seen the couple “jump the broom.”
2. Though historians disagree on the exact roots of this tradition, many believe it was part of African culture before becoming part of African-American slave culture.
3. According to the African-American Registry, the broom as a wedding symbol originated in Ghana.
4. It “symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or removing evil spirits.”
5. At weddings, the broom was often waved over the heads of the couple, and they sometimes jumped over it at the end of the ceremony.
6. The ritual continued in the American South during slavery.
7. Enslaved people were often not permitted to marry.
8. According to the book Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South, when they did marry, they had informal weddings.
9. Jumping over a broom was a way to symbolically represent their union.
10. Brenda E. Stevenson writes that it was one way enslaved people created new rituals.
11. Even if their marriage wasn’t recognized by whites, it was a way for black people to legitimize their meaningful relationships.
12. For modern couples, jumping the broom represents great joy and at the same time is a reminder of a painful past.
13. Couples may choose a simple broom…
14. Or a beautifully decorated one.
16. Or just buy one on Etsy.
17. And many couples hang the broom in their home after the wedding.
18. Jumping the broom marks the beginning of making a home together.
19. It symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new.
20. And makes way for all of the good things to come in their life together.
21. It’s also a request for their community’s support of their marriage.
22. At the end of the ceremony, the officiant can invite all the wedding guests to count down…
23. “One, two, three…”
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