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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Jumping the broom

  • This symbol of starting a new life together is making a comeback.

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  • Jumping the broom is a popular African-American wedding tradition for couples wanting to blend the old with the new.
    But there’s more to it than just taking a leap.
    “The ritual is full of symbolism and history, and it gives new life to an old tradition,” says designer Veronica Braddy, founder of African American Roots Inc. in Spring Hill, Fla., and african-weddings.com. She designs custom brooms and favors, broom bouquets and DIY broom kits. “The broom symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and welcoming the new. There’s something for every taste, from majestic to royal to old-fashioned.
    “We’re hungry to find something that’s ours. Combining tradition with heritage is a fabulous way to achieve that.”
    Veronica’s children had the honor of presenting and placing the broom at her wedding.
    Wedding minister Cathleen Logue of Weddings by Cathleen (weddingsbycathleen.org) in Millsboro, Del., and the Rev. Starlene Joyner Burns of SJB Ministries LLC (startum.com) in Bowie, Md., have each performed weddings with a jumping of the broom. Logue says the jumping takes place just before the recessional at the end of the ceremony, and some brooms are passed down through families.
    “It’s one of my favorite” traditions, says Burns, because of the ancestral roots and deep hidden meanings. “The ritual is full of creativity and power. In the past it represented marrying freely without forced separation. Now, it reminds us of past hardships, overcoming obstacles created by desire and actions of free spirit. The broom should be placed horizontally before the groom with the straw before the bride.” 
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    How it started
    Historians and scholars differ on the custom’s exact origins. Some research documents it to Welsh, Wiccan, Celtic and even Druid roots.
    Walking over a broom, to signify a couple uniting, was a custom for African-American wedding ceremonies of the antebellum South. After the end of American slavery, the tradition fell out of use because of stigma and the desire for wedding rings and church-officiated ceremonies.
     
    However, jumping the broom survived in many communities, and today, wedding planners and ministers are educating couples and
    incorporating “the jump” into their special day.  
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    Making the broom
    How to have guests of honor help make your special broom, from Cathleen Logue and Veronica Braddy:
    • Select a special guest to place the broom during your ceremony.
    • Have guests sign a ribbon and attach them to your wedding broom.
    • Blended families can have kids decorate and place the broom during the ceremony.
    • Make broom-decorating a bonding activity at your bridesmaid party or bridal shower.
     
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