Jumping The Broom
A sweet couple we know was married on Saturday and like so many before them, Jazmine and Cormac chose to conclude their ceremony and solidify their marriage vows with the lovely long-standing African American tradition of “jumping the broom”.“Jumping the Broom,” is an African American phrase and custom for marriage that had its American roots during slavery in the 1800’s. Slave-owners had a dilemma regarding committed relationships between slaves. A certain amount of family stability was desirable to keep slaves pacified, but anything approaching a legal marriage was not. Marriage gave a couple rights over each other which conflicted with the slave-owners’ “rights”. Most marriages between slaves were not legally recognized. According to the law, marriage was considered to be a civil contract, and civil contracts could only be entered into by free persons. In the absence of legal marriage, the slave community developed its own way by which to determine between committed, and casual relationships. The ceremony of “jumping the broom” served as an open declaration of settling down in a marriage relationship. Jumping the broom was always done before witnesses in a public ceremony. It signaled to all in the community that a couple chose to become as close to married as was then allowed. The practice survived, and even made a resurgence after publication of Alex Haley’s book and mini-series, “Roots.” Many African American couples still include jumping the broom at the end of their wedding ceremony as a tribute to this tradition. What joy!!!
Every ethnicity and culture has traditions and rituals that mark how they celebrate at weddings. These are the moments that anchor individuals to their history and their family’s roots. These traditions are powerful symbols that enrich a couple’s beginnings. Finding and marrying the love of your life….that’s bound to bring more love, more joy and a very abundant life to share with that one special person.