Broom Jumping: An African Ritual

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1. Broom jumping has become one of the most popular African traditions at weddings—traditional and African-centered. According to Harriet Cole in her book, "Jumping the Broom." The ritual itself was created by our ancestors during slavery.

Because slaves could not legally marry, they created their own rituals to honor their unions. Some say broom jumping comes from an African tribal marriage ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple's new home.

2. The jumping of the broom is a symbol of sweeping away of the old and welcoming the new, or a symbol of a new beginning.

Today the ceremony can be performed at the wedding after the minister pronounces the couple man and wife or at the reception just after the bridal party enters the reception area.

3. The broom jumping ceremony is conducted by an experienced African cultural leader and can last up to 25 minutes. The ceremony includes the Bride, Groom, their families and close friends. It gives all in attendance, including guests, an opportunity to pledge their support to the union. A highlight of the cereomony is the recognition of the spiritual presence of ancestors, and the pouring of libations in their memory.

The straws of the broom represent the family and the handle represents the almighty.


5. A fully decorated broom can be purchased at ethnic stores or a regular household broom will suffice. Broom sizes will vary, but it doesn't matter which you choose. If you decide to use your own broom and decorate it yourself, be sure it coordinates with your wedding colors. Using your own broom can also be a great bonding activity for the bridesmaids, perhaps the night, or week before the wedding.

Feel free to use bows, flowers, or other trinkets to make it unique. But don't overdo it. You'll probably want this for a keepsake in your home. Another idea is to have a basket full of ribbon pieces at the reception and allow guests to tie ribbon around the brrom...
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