Thursday, December 15

Jumping the broom
Happy anniversary Grandmomma!

(And Grandpoppa, too!)

Momma's parents "jumped the broom" 49 years ago today. Well, they didn't actually "jump a broom" since they were married in a church. But they could have.

So where does the custom come from?

Local variations of the custom were developed in different parts of England, Scotland and Wales when gypsy couples would get married by jumping over a branch of flowering broom (shrub) or a besom made of broom. The broom was placed in an angle by the doorway and the groom jumped over first, followed by the bride.

In the United States slaves who wished to marry were sometimes only permitted to "jump the broom." (This custom has been revived by some due to to the popularity of Alex Haley's wonderful novel and miniseries Roots.)

It does not seem to have any, um, roots in African culture but may have been the only form a marriage permitted by slave owners who were familiar with "jumping the broom" from the old country.

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