The True History Of “Jumping The Broom”

Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us, “Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together.” And our people have a tradition that has represented our togetherness through the ages. Can you guess what it is?

The True History Of “Jumping The Broom”
Via Flickr

Jumping the broom originated during the 1600s in the Ashanti kingdom in what is now Ghana.

Brooms played a major role in Asante culture, and during marriages, a broom was even symbolically waved over the couple’s heads to ward off evil spirits.

It was also a symbol of sweeping away past wrongs and creating a new spiritual beginning for the couple. This was especially important because it protected them from interference from menacing outside forces.

Enslaved Africans brought broom culture over during chattel slavery, and it transformed because of the specifics of our people’s circumstances. During slavery, vows exchanged between enslaved Black people were illegal and did not constitute an official marriage. For that reason, jumping the broom became a ritual intended to legitimize the marriage.

So what about the spiritual importance of the tradition today?

Of course, marriage for our people is legitimate now, and we are free to incorporate any tradition we choose. Yet, jumping the broom has survived because it’s a way for our people to pay tribute to the past while looking toward the future.

How does it speak to our spirituality today?

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