Jumping the Broom

June 20, 2014

Jumping the broom is wedding tradition with rich historical origins. Usually done at the end of the ceremony, it symbolizes the passage of a couple into a bright new future. In 19th century Europe, broomstick marriages referred to couples who chose to elope, instead of having a traditional church wedding. When civil ceremonies were legalized, the law was called the “Broomstick Marriage Act”. Jumping the broom was also a common custom for Roman gypsies wishing to wed.


The American history of jumping the broom dates back to the 1800s, when enslaved African Americans were prohibited from legally marrying. The custom is believed to have its origins in the African nation of Ghana, where handmade brooms were waved over the heads of the bride and groom. After the abolishment of slavery, the popularity of the practice died down. However, it saw a resurgence after being featured in the Alex Haley miniseries “Roots”. Today, couples include the practice in their traditional ceremony to pay homage to the challenges of their ancestors.


The pictured broom is available on the following website:



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