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Jumping the Broom (African-American Tradition)

An African tribal ritual had couples placing sticks on the ground to symbolize their home together. This may be the origin of the broom jumping tradition, which was popular among among African-American slaves (who could not have official wedding ceremonies); it may also symbolize the sweeping away of evil spirits. The couple holds the broom together and sweeps in a circle while the officiant or a family elder talks about the significance of the ritual. Then the broom is placed on the floor and the couple joins hands. Everyone counts to three-then you jump!

You officiant (or anyone really) can read this reworded version of a traditional slave marriage poem:

Dark and stormy may come the weather,

This man and woman are joined together.

Let none but him that makes the thunder,

Put this man and woman asunder.

I therefore announce you both the same,

Be good, go long, and keep up your name.

The broomstick’s jumped, the world’s not wide.

She’s now your own, go kiss your bride!

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