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Jumping Over the Broom

Jumping over the broom symbolizes a union and the beginning of a new life together, and is sometimes still performed by a newly married couple today, as a reminder of their heritage.  When slavery was practiced in the United States it was not legal for slaves to marry, so slaves would wed by jumping over the broom.


There is an African marriage ritual of placing sticks on the ground to represent a couple's new home together, that may be the origin of the custom of jumping over the broom as a symbol of sweeping away the old and welcoming the new.


In modern times, the ceremony can be performed either after the officiate pronounces the newly weds husband and wife, or at the wedding reception just after the entrance of the bridal party.  Occasionally, the guests will participate by tying ribbons around the broom before it is jumped by the couple.


This tradition is not limited to Afro-Americans however; the Cajuns, who did not often have access to a minister for long periods of time because of their remote location often jumped the broom as well until a minister could arrive.

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