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What is an African wedding broom?

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An African wedding broom is a broom, usually hand-made and adorned with silk flowers, ribbons, rhinestones or other decorations. At the end of a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom jump over the broom to symbolize the union of two families and the beginning of a new life.

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African wedding brooms are thought to symbolize welcoming the new life by sweeping away the old. Different sites provide different explanations for this tradition. The broom represents the wife's commitment to clean the new home, according to aaregistry.org.

The broom may have been used in place of sticks which were thought to represent a couple's new home, according to african-weddings.com. The use of African wedding brooms regained popularity in the 1970s after the release of the novel and miniseries, "Roots," by Alex Haley.

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