"Jumping the Broom" - it's more than just a movie

The film "Jumping the Broom," which opens in theaters today, is more than just a movie- it's an African American tradition dating back to the 1600s.  Though the movie is not based on the history of the Jumping the Broom, it is based on two African American professionals who are in love and planning to get married.  Now for those that do not know, I'm sure are wondering what does "Jumping the Broom" actually mean.


Brief History of the Jumping the Broom Tradition


This is a ceremony dating back to the 1600s and derived from Africa. Dating back to slave days, jumping the broom together has been part of weddings for couples who want to honor that tradition.


Some couples choose to incorporate it into traditional and non-traditional ceremonies. Broom jumping is a brief ceremony usually within the wedding ceremony toward the end. The jumping of the broom is symbolic of binding a couple in marriage and also can be used to symbolize fertility and prosperity of the couple.


The "Jumping the Broom" is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically "sweeping away" their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as wife and husband.  In most cases, the Jumping the Broom takes place at the end of the ceremony.


This "leap" into a new life (marriage as wife and husband is performed in the presence of families and friends.  The straws of the broom represent family; the handle represents the Almighty; the ribbon represents the tie that binds the couple together.  The most important thing is its significance;

  • Honoring and respect of your ancestors, their legacy, and your rich family heritage.
  • Coming together of both families, and commitment to each other as wife and husband.
  • It represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.

-- Larry James (Celebrate Intimate Weddings)


The film reunites Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine who starred in "Waiting to Exhale" together, and costars Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, Mike Epps and Julie Bowen ("Modern Family").  Though this movie is not based on the history of Jumping the Broom, it is about an African American couple who face many difficulties during their journey to the alter because her family is wealthy and his family is blue-collar.  Through these difficulties that they face, the significance of the "leap" into a new life via the tradition of Jumping the Broom is what I believe will be able to allow this couple, as well as any couple no matter what the financial situation or struggle is between the families.

Follow me on twitter @candacepolk and email me at candace@eventsbycandace.net with comments, questions or suggestions. Thanks for reading!



Celebrate Intimate Weddings, Jumping the Broom History by Larry James

All photos courtesy of Quiana Burwell of Chocolate Brooms & Bouquets

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