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What does it mean when you step over a broom?

Stepping over a broom is a well-known superstition that has been followed by many for generations, especially among the African-American community. This superstition is still relevant today and is considered bad luck by those who believe in it. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of this superstition and the different beliefs associated with it.

The History of the Broom

The broom is an ancient tool that has been used for centuries to clean homes and yards. In the African-American community, the broom has a significant cultural and spiritual significance. Slaves in the United States used brooms as a symbol of hope, freedom, and a way to keep their surroundings clean. The broom would be used to sweep away negative energy and bring positive energy into their homes. The broom was an essential tool to spiritual and religious practices, such as Voodoo and Hoodoo.

The Origins of Stepping Over a Broom

The origin of stepping over a broom is unclear, but it is believed that it dates back to the 18th century. During the time of slavery in the United States, African-Americans were not allowed to hold or perform marriage ceremonies. Instead, couples were forced to jump over a broom to signify their marriage. The broom was symbolic of cleaning away the past and starting a new life together.

This tradition was passed from generation to generation and continues to be practiced today by many African-American couples as a way to pay homage to their ancestors and traditions. However, the tradition of stepping over a broom has been misconstrued over time and has led to the belief that stepping over a broom by accident can bring about bad luck.

The Beliefs Associated with Stepping Over a Broom

Many people believe that stepping over a broom can bring about bad luck. Some believe that doing so can cause a rift in a relationship or lead to the separation of lovers. Others believe that if one steps over a broom, it can bring bad luck into their home and cause harm to the people living there.

It is also believed that leaning a broom against a bed can bring about bad luck. Instead, it is suggested to keep the broom in a closet or a designated area, in an upright position. It is also believed that sweeping toward the door, especially after dark, can sweep away good luck and bring bad luck into the home.

The Importance of Understanding Cultural Traditions

It is essential to understand cultural traditions, such as stepping over a broom, to appreciate the rich history and diversity of different communities. Cultural traditions provide insight into the beliefs, values, and struggles of a group of people.

It is also important not to misconstrue cultural traditions, especially as they relate to superstitions, as they can lead to misunderstanding and perpetuate stereotypes. It is crucial to understand the significance of a tradition and approach it with respect and an open mind.


Stepping over a broom is a deeply rooted cultural tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although the tradition has positive origins, misconceptions have led to the belief that stepping over a broom can bring about bad luck. It is important to understand cultural traditions and approach them with respect and an open mind to appreciate the rich history and diversity of different communities.


What does a broom symbolize?

Brooms have been used for centuries as a tool for cleaning homes, businesses, and public spaces. Beyond their practical purpose, they have also held great symbolic value across various cultures. In many traditions, brooms were seen as a symbol of good luck, as they represented the ability to sweep away bad fortune and negative energy.

Historically, brooms were made from natural materials such as twigs, bark, and grasses. The act of sweeping was believed to physically remove dirt and negative energy from a space, creating a clear and purified environment. In some cultures, brooms were also used in rituals or ceremonies to ward off evil spirits or negative influences.

In addition to their spiritual significance, brooms have also been associated with domestic duties and household chores. Traditionally, women were expected to perform these tasks, and the broom became a symbol of femininity and domesticity. In some cultures, brooms were even used as a way to measure a woman’s worth or eligibility for marriage based on her ability to keep a clean home.

Brooms continue to hold symbolic value today as a representation of cleanliness, purification, and protection. They may be used in spiritual practices or simply as a reminder of the importance of maintaining a clean and positive living environment.

What does jumping the broom mean to slaves?

Jumping the broom is an African American tradition that dates back to the time of slavery in the United States. During this dark period of history, enslaved people were denied many freedoms, including the right to get married to the person they loved. Despite this unjust reality, the enslaved community found ways to honor their relationships and create meaningful unions.

One of the ways in which enslaved people celebrated their commitment to each other was by jumping the broom. During this ritual, a couple stood together with a broom placed on the ground in front of them. They then joined hands and jumped over the broom together. By doing so, they declared their intention to enter into a committed relationship with each other, and to make a life together as a family.

Jumping the broom was especially significant for enslaved people because it represented a form of resistance against the oppressive system that sought to deny them their basic human rights. By finding creative ways to express their love and commitment to each other, enslaved couples were able to assert their agency and independence in a society that sought to strip them of their humanity.

While the practice of jumping the broom has evolved over time, it remains an important part of African American cultural history. Today, many couples choose to incorporate this tradition into their wedding ceremonies as a way to honor their heritage and pay tribute to the resilience and creativity of those who came before them.

What does the Bible say about broom?

The Bible mentions the broom in a few instances and often in reference to destruction and desolation. One such instance can be found in the book of Isaiah 14:23, where it says, “I will sweep through it like a broom and destroy everything,” announces the LORD who rules over all. This verse is part of a prophecy about the downfall of Babylon, a great city of ancient times. The sweeping of the broom is a metaphor for the complete destruction and removal of everything in its path.

Another instance where the broom is mentioned in the Bible is in Isaiah 14:23, where it says, “I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD Almighty. This verse also refers to the destruction of Babylon, but instead of just being swept through like a broom, it will be turned into desolate swampland.

In the book of Micah 7:17, the broom is referenced again in a different context. It says, “They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of you.” This verse speaks of a time where the enemies of Israel will be brought to their knees and will lick dust like snakes. The broom is not mentioned specifically in this verse, but it is often used as a tool for cleaning and getting rid of dirt and debris, so it is likely that the broom is being used in a similar sense here.

The Bible mentions the broom several times, often in the context of destruction and desolation. While it may be a humble household item in our modern times, it was a powerful symbol in the ancient Middle East that conveyed the severity of God’s judgment.

What are the superstitions about broom?

Throughout history, brooms have been both objects of practicality and representatives of superstitions and folklore. The broom has been used to clean homes and keep them tidy. However, certain superstitions exist surrounding the use of brooms.

One superstition that has persisted throughout history is the notion that if a woman steps over a broom before marriage, she would give birth to a child out of wedlock. This old superstition has its roots in the English culture and was popularly observed in many other cultures worldwide. In early English traditions, it was believed that if a woman stepped over a broom, it would be an agreement to begin living with someone. Therefore, the superstition around brooms was that if a woman did this without being married, she would never get married and instead have a child born out of wedlock.

Aside from the superstition surrounding brooms and marriage, there are other, less well-known omens associated with the broom. For instance, if you drop a broom while cleaning, it is believed to be an indicator that strangers will pay a visit to your home. Similarly, if someone sweeps under your feet with a broom, it is said to lead to a future fight or argument between you and the person who wielded the broom.

In Yorkshire’s history, there are tales of mothers fearing for their daughters stepping over brooms. They knew that children born outside of wedlock were not accepted in society, and their daughters’ reputations would be ruined forever. Due to this fear, mothers kept brooms away from their unmarried daughters. Mischievous young boys would purposefully leave brooms in awkward places to try and catch unsuspecting girls out.

People have placed superstitions on brooms throughout history, and many are still observed to this day. Some of these superstitions include the belief that stepping over a broom before marriage would lead to a child born out of wedlock, sweeping under someone’s feet will lead to a future fight or argument, and dropping a broom during cleaning will bring strangers to your home. The broom’s mystical powers have captured the imaginations of many cultures worldwide and continue to do so today.

What is another meaning for broom?

Apart from being a cleaning tool used for sweeping floors or outdoor areas, the word broom has another meaning. Broom can also refer to a type of shrubbery or plant commonly known as the broom plant. This plant is typically characterized by long, slender, and often green branches that are similar in appearance to the bristles of a broom. Broom plants are primarily found in regions with a Mediterranean climate, such as parts of Europe and North Africa. They are also known to grow in other parts of the world, including some areas of North America and Asia.

The broom plant has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history, ranging from medicinal remedies to crafting. The plant contains certain chemicals and compounds that have been known to be beneficial for treating a range of health conditions, such as kidney problems and respiratory issues. Broom branches have also been used to make brooms, as the name suggests, but have also been used to make baskets, thatching, and even musical instruments. In some cultures, broom plants have been associated with certain religious or spiritual beliefs.

While the word broom may be primarily associated with a cleaning tool, it can also refer to a type of plant. The broom plant has a rich history and has been utilized for various purposes, from medicinal remedies to crafting.