Jumping the Broom

By Designer Thony C. Anyiam

When I asked some of my African American clients if they were going to jump the broom during their wedding ceremonies, among those whose response were negative, some of the reasons given were,  "it is a slave thing" or "that it is associated with slavery",  and when the same question was put to some of my native born African clients, of those whose response were negative, the impression I got from the responses was that jumping of the broom is for African Americans and not applicable to them. 

Contrary to published reports "Jumping the broom" was  not invented by "slaves" or during slavery because  their "masters" refused to allow them to be married. It is an African tradition dating back to before the first Europeans visited West Africa. It should be practiced by all in honor and respect to our African and African American ancestors and heritage.

Jumping the broom at church.

Jumping the broom or in some cases jumping over an imaginary line is an African ritual, or tradition still being practiced in some parts of West Africa. Jumping the broom is NOT  associated with slavery.  Enslaved Africans, as an affirmation of their cultural heritage practiced it during slavery in North America. This "leap" into a new life (marriage life) as husband and wife is performed in the presence of families and friends.  The broom has both symbolic and spiritual importance in the African culture. You can be as creative as you want when planning for that special day.

Brooms can be beautifully decorated to individual taste, and should be used as a wall décor after the wedding ceremony. It should always remind the couple of their new life and commitment to each other as husband and wife in line with the African culture. 

You should celebrate this rich cultural heritage, irrespective of your race, religion, and nationality, the most important thing is it's significance;                                                                                             

Jumping the broom at the reception.

 *Honoring and respect of our ancestors, their legacy, and our rich African and African         American heritage.

* Coming together of both families, and commitment to each other as husband and wife.

* It represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.

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