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What does jumping the broom mean in Black culture?

Jumping the broom is a wedding tradition that symbolizes spiritual unity and commitment in black communities. Jumping the broom has its roots in African cultures and was brought to the United States during slavery. Many black couples continue to use this tradition as part of their wedding ceremonies, with some adding their own twists to honor their heritage and ancestors.

The History of Jumping the Broom

The origins of jumping the broom trace back to African cultures, particularly in West Africa. It was a ritual commonly practiced during weddings in which a couple jumps over a broom laid out on the ground. Beyond symbolizing spiritual unity, jumping the broom could represent the couple’s prosperity, sweeping away past wrongdoings, or welcoming a new beginning.

During slavery in the United States, enslaved black people were prohibited from legally marrying. Despite the legal obstacles, they were determined to forge lasting relationships and keep their families together. Thus, they turned to the traditions carried from their homeland, including jumping the broom. Enslaved couples would honor their commitments through these rituals because legal backing was not available.

Over time during the Jim Crow era, jumping the broom became less popular among African Americans and was somewhat forgotten, but it reemerged during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Black couples started to embrace the tradition and used this as a way to celebrate being black, to separate their ceremonies from the historical oppression of white dominance, and to honor their ancestors who had passed down the tradition to them.

What Does Jumping the Broom Represent?

Jumping the broom is a culturally significant tradition that can represent different things to different people. However, most interpretations of this practice have two common elements: firstly, it represents the spiritual union of two individuals that transcend physical and cultural differences, and secondly, it exemplifies a commitment to overcoming life’s challenges together.

For some African Americans, jumping the broom is a reminder of their ancestors’ resilience and resistance to oppressive systems. It represents their determination to uphold their cultural heritage and pass it to the next generation. Moreover, they see it as a way to confirm their love before their loved ones, children and God, especially in the absence of an official legal ceremony.

In other cases, jumping the broom is a symbolic act of welcoming a new life together. It allows couples to make a poignant vow to each other and express their promises for their future together. For instance, they jump over the broom together to symbolize that they will jump over any obstacles that may occur in their marriage.

How has Jumping the Broom Evolved?

Even though the tradition has a long history, black couples often reinterpret it in ways that suit their own preference and cultural roots. As such, some couples have incorporated Christian faith elements into an already rich tradition by including specific verses in scripture or singing a gospel song after the jump over the broom.

Others celebrate their African roots by using traditional colors such as gold, red and green, and wearing traditional garb—such as kente cloth and dashikis—down the aisle. They may also incorporate food from their heritage into the occasion. Hence, jumping the broom has evolved to reflect the African American experience and the diversity within that community.


Jumping the broom has its roots in African cultures and has played a significant role in black wedding traditions that have transcended cultural borders. The tradition symbolizes many things, including spiritual union, resilience in the face of adversity, commitment, and a willingness to overcome any challenges together. As black couples continue to revere and reinterpret this tradition, it retains its significance in black culture—a reminder of the sacrifices of their ancestors and the enduring commitment they have to each other.


When should a couple jump the broom?

Jumping the broom is a beautiful wedding tradition that has its roots in African culture. It symbolizes sweeping away the old life and welcoming in the new as the couple begins their new journey together as husband and wife. So, when exactly should a couple jump the broom?

Traditionally, this act takes place at the very end of the wedding ceremony after the couple has been pronounced as married. The broom is placed in front of the couple, typically by a wedding party member. Then, holding hands, the couple jumps over the broom together, signifying their union and commitment to each other.

However, in modern times, some couples have chosen to incorporate jumping the broom at other times during the wedding ceremony. For example, some couples choose to jump the broom as they exit the wedding ceremony, and others have even jumped the broom during the reception.

The timing of when to jump the broom is a personal decision for the couple. It depends on what feels right to them and how they want to incorporate this meaningful tradition into their wedding day. Whatever the timing, jumping the broom is a beautiful way to celebrate the union of two people in love.

What are the superstitions about broom?

The superstitions about broom have been circulating for centuries. Some of the most common beliefs regarding brooms are prevalent in various cultures worldwide. For instance, in ancient Rome, people believed that sweeping the floors with a broomsticks banished negative energy or evil spirits. Meanwhile, the Native Americans used brooms to cleanse their homes and promote personal well-being.

However, brooms also have negative associations in folklore, especially when it comes to superstitions surrounding marriage. According to a popular belief, if a woman steps over a broom before marriage, she would give birth to a child out of wedlock. This superstition is often referred to as “jumping the broom.” The custom became popular during the 18th and 19th centuries among the African-American community as slaves were not allowed to get married in a Christian way. To signify their union, they would jump over a broom instead.

Similarly, in medieval England, stepping over a broom represented a sign of the couple’s commitment, leading many people to believe that if a broom fell during a wedding ceremony, the marriage would be unhappy. Stories from Yorkshire’s history speak of mothers fearing for their daughters stepping over brooms and mischievous young boys purposefully leaving them in awkward places.

Another superstition related to brooms is that if someone sweeps the floor after dark, they will sweep away their good luck. This belief is prevalent in many Asian cultures, including China and Vietnam. In some parts of Europe, sweeping the floor after dark is avoided altogether as it is seen as an invitation for evil spirits to enter the home.

The superstitions about brooms have existed for centuries and vary in different cultures and countries. While some see brooms as amulets to protect them from bad luck or evil spirits, others consider them a bad omen. Whether these beliefs hold any truth is debatable, but they continue to be passed down through generations, contributing to rich cultural traditions.

What are the words for jumping the broom ceremony?

Jumping the broom is an African American tradition, which has become increasingly popular in modern times as part of wedding ceremonies and other celebrations. The origin of this ritual can be traced back to the days of slavery, where slaves were not allowed to legally marry. Therefore, they would use this ceremony as a way to honor their commitment to each other and recognize their union.

During a jumping the broom ceremony, the couple jumps over a broomstick that has been placed on the ground. It is usually placed in front of the couple at the end of the ceremony and symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the embracing of the new. The ceremony typically takes place after the exchange of vows, rings, and the kiss.

The words spoken during a jumping the broom ceremony can vary depending on your personal preferences and beliefs. Some couples recite traditional African phrases or verses, while others create their own customized script. But generally, the idea behind the words spoken is to honor the ancestors, recognize the importance of the ritual, and invoke blessings for the newlyweds.

For example, some common words spoken during a jumping the broom ceremony might include: “Close your eyes, hold hands and jump the broomstick! Take the leap into your new life together, leaving behind the old certainties and trusting in your love and your future together; loved ones cheering you on and your celebrant at your back! The perfect way to start your new life together – swept off your feet!” Other words could include passages from religious texts, poetry that is meaningful to the couple, or quotes that inspire the couple.

The words spoken during a jumping the broom ceremony are not set in stone. They should be meaningful to the couple and reflect their hopes and dreams for their future together. This is an important ceremony that honors a rich cultural heritage and is a beautiful way to declare one’s love and commitment to their partner.