February 16, 2009

Afrocentric Weddings - Jumping the Broom

On my personal blog, I did a series during Black History Month on Afro-centric wedding elements, and I thought I would share some of them here on Wedding Bee. While many people of African descent may not incorporate African/African-American elements into every aspect of their weddings, there are many small things that brides can do to add a little cultural flair. I hope t0 highlight a few in this series.

Since Mr. Swan and I are an interracial couple, I am not sure whether we'll incorporate many of these traditions into our wedding. While I doubt we'll be having many of these elements, don't get it twisted. I will be incorporating my Afro-Caribbean culture in some way. I'm still doing some fine tuning. Also while many of these traditions come from African/African-American culture, I think there is a beautiful universal meaning that anyone from any culture can take away from these celebrations.

The first and most common cultural element that I have seen at weddings is the act of jumping the broom. Here is some information that I uncovered:

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. (source)

Apparently, some authors claim that jumping the room is not specifically African/African-American in origin, but it has been most connected to Black slaves in the United States.

I have to admit that I like the idea behind broom jumping. I love the notion of crossing a line into a new life together in both a metaphorical and physical way during the ceremony. Ultimately, this is what our weddings are about: A new beginning.

Are you incorporating a specific cultural element into your weddings? Does it have a specific significance to you and your future partner?


Mrs. Andi said...

I really like this tradition, I've seen it a lot on some of the wedding shows. Some of the hand decorated brooms are beautiful! However, I know we couldn't use this type of tradition in our wedding. I can imagine simply trying to explain it to my VERY Southern family! Oy vey.

Chic.Personal.Fun said...

Oy is right. I completely understand! :)