What Is the Tradition of Jumping Over the Broom?

Jumping over the broom is a wedding tradition where both the bride and the groom jump over a broom together during the ceremony. This action is symbolic of sweeping away the past and new beginnings. In addition, it can represent the joining of the two families.

Although it is not known definitively where this tradition came from, it was used by African-American slave populations in the American South during the 18th and 19th centuries as an alternative to church or courthouse weddings, which were prohibited to African-Americans at that time. However, the wedding tradition was also popular in Scottish, Welsh and Roma cultures during that same time period.