Some people have a strong response to the old slave custom of jumping the broom in their wedding ceremony today. I had a strong response when I thought about it for my own wedding. I began crying, to my surprise. I had seen the tradition performed a few times in movie weddings (i.e., "Jumping the Broom" starring Paula Patton) and I never thought much about it until my own planning. The tears came when I thought about my fiance and I jumping over a broom at the end of our ceremony. I think I was crying because I felt for the slaves (my probable ancestors) that had jumped brooms years ago as a symbol of their love for one another.
I could imagine slaves whispering to each other in the dark, "Will you jump the broom with me?" to their sweetheart, possibly someone on a different plantation. Possibly someone that had already been promised to another person, or even someone that a few months later would be sold to another plantation in another state. I knew by my tears that I needed to incorporate the tradition into my own wedding.
I did not anticipate the strong response of my fiance.
"No!" He said. "We are not doing that."
His mother and I talked about it during our Christmas visit and again, my fiance expressed a strong resistance to adding that into our ceremony. His mother pointed out that it was a part of our history. He said there were a lot of things that are a part of our history but they would not be a part of our wedding.
His step father agreed. "I've seen (jumping the broom) at many ceremonies, but I don't think it has to always be done. It's like a fad now to do it. Everyone is doing it."
I have never attended a wedding where it was done. I've only seen it done on film/tv. My future mother-in-law said that she and my fiance's step father jumped a broom at their own ceremony over ten years ago and said she has seen it done and explained at wedding receptions, in some cases.
The reason why I think some of us do not want to include the broom in our wedding ceremonies is we don't want to be reminded of slavery or what our ancestors went through. We don't want to think about it or hear about it and certainly do not want to DO anything connected to that time period.
For those that may not be familiar with the tradition, here is the scoop:
Jumping the Broom
"This tradition most likely originated with an African ritual in which a broom is used to demonstrate that all past problems have been swept away. During slave days, African-Americans were forbidden to marry and live together, so jumping over a broom was a formal and public declaration of the couple's commitment. Today, it has become very popular for African-American couples to follow suit at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony. The broom, often handmade and beautifully decorated, can be displayed in the couple's home after the wedding."