The tradition of broom jumping in weddings & handfastings

Fairy Broom
Originally uploaded by bluheron
Many couples want to "jump the broom" at the end of their ceremony. This is one of the oldest marriage traditions from the British Isles, predating even the handfast cord. Some scholars have traced the broom-jumping tradition to a centuries-old Welsh custom, priodas coes ysgub, or "broom-stick wedding". In the early 16-18th centuries in the Americas, broom-jumping was widely practiced among the slave community as their only recognized form of marriage, although it is somewhat unclear whether the slaves imported this custom from Africa or picked up the practice from American Southerners who brought the practice from the British Isles. (Dundes, Alan: ""Jumping the Broom": On the Origin and Meaning of an African American Wedding Custom")

The broom as it is used today in marriage or handfasting ceremonies represents the threshold of the home, and jumping the broom is symbolic of entering a new home together. Even if couples are already sharing a home or are currently married and are renewing their vows, jumping the broom can help symbolize entering a new stage of their relationship, and the leaving behind of old thoughts, behaviors and patterns between the two.

Many witches, wiccans and pagans are already familiar with the usage of the broom as a symbolic way of sweeping out old energies and clearing away negativity. This is also a great usage of it in a wedding, and helps the couple to come together with a "clean slate".

I normally recommend that a new broom be purchased just for the ceremony in order to avoid bringing prior energies into the ceremony, however, a broom can be part of the preparations for a wedding as well. The broom can be decorated with ribbons, flowers, crystals, charms or other items which the couple would like to help symbolize their "fresh start". After the ceremony, the broom is hung above the main entrance door of the home, as a daily reminder of the ceremony and the new life it brings.

The fairy broom featured in this post was one that was very special to the bride and groom throughout their relationship. The bride explained to me that the groom had once brought her a small trinket that she tied onto a small decorative broom that she had in her home. This started a tradition in their relationship where they would add other items to this broom to remember special times in their courtship. When it came time for the wedding, it was an important part of the ceremony to have this broom present. While not every couple incorporates a broom into their early times together, it's a great memory for this couple, and an interesting idea for other wiccan or pagan couples to think about.

Here in Utah, there are several stores which carry ceremonial brooms, and one of the stores with the best selection of brooms is Elemental Inspirations in Sugarhouse. You can also check online for some really beautiful hand-carved custom brooms at
or check out the Broom Magic site here:
The Broom Magic s
ite has some great prices on basic Witches' ceremonial besoms
as well as some nice carved kitchen brooms.