Traditional Customs & Rituals
JUMPING THE BROOM
The history of the Jumping of the Broom differs from various countries - from Africa, to African-American, to Welsh/British and Celtic.
With different countries comes differing beliefs as to why the ritual was included in wedding ceremonies. Warding off evil spirits or starting a new clean life.. take it however you will.
It is very popular in Paganistic wedding ceremonies, and can be a lovely, different, light-hearted inclusion for the end of any ceremony.
Jumping the Broom FAQs
When does jumping the broom happen in the ceremony?
At the very end of the ceremony. Once the couple have been pronounced as married, they would normally exit the ceremony area by walking back down the aisle - the Recessional. Just before they make this walk - the broom is placed on the ground and the newlyweds jump over it, then proceed down the aisle.
Who places the broom on the ground?
Anyone can place the broom on the ground—there is no traditional person who takes on this role. However, a couple may choose a significant person to take on this responsibility.
Where does the broom come from?
The broom can be a family heirloom that is passed down through generations. It also can be purchased or be made by the couple, family members, or someone significant to the couple. Brooms can be bought at a craft store and decorated.
What does the broom look like?
The broom is not the typical household tool that you have in your home. It is usually three feet long and has a wooden handle with natural bristles. Most couples would customize their brooms. The broom typically has silk ribbons, flowers, intricate beading or lace. Some couples have guests write their names on decorative paper to attach to the broom before being used in the ceremony. This symbolizes the guests and their well-wishes for the couple entering a marriage.
What do you do with the broom after the wedding?
Many couples save the broom as a keepsake from their wedding or pass it down to future generations. When the wedding is over, hang the broom as a beautiful decoration and symbol of your union in your home.
Wording for Jumping the Broom;
We end this ceremony with the tradition of jumping of the broom. As our newlyweds jump the broom, they cross the threshold into marriage. It marks their making a home together. It symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new; the sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives.
(Name & Name) will now begin their new life together with a clean sweep!
Please, family & friends, can you all be upstanding and congratulate (Name & Name)!
Celtic tribal people were, like many tribal folk in those times and even today, intimately tied to spirit of place. Important vows were given at very specific and sacred places. In fact many of the old tribal names are descriptive of a particular place or natural feature such as a lake, river, valley or mountain. Spirits were associated with each of these places, often tied directly to the tribe. In many cases, these spirits were regarded as ancestral spirits of the forebears of the Celts living there now. Having connection and blessing from the ancestors and the land was a critical ingredient to any important new venture—particularly, marriage.
Thus, the oathing stone tradition goes far, far back into the Celtic spirit. A physical object, such as a stone or piece of wood, was used to help transfer the wedding oaths to the spirit energies present in a sacred location. It served as a kind of mediator or bridge between the couple, ancestors and the immediate sacred place. A couple wedding, with the oathing stone, was witness by the people and the chief, as well as the ancestors, tied to the land. This intimacy with the environment was critical for future survival.
For a couple, the oathing stone helped root their future into the wisdom of the past at the start of their new life. At the end of the ceremony, the oathing stone often went on its own journey. A stone could be tossed into a lake by both the couple. Perhaps it would be thrown over a cliff into the sea far below. Sometimes the oathing stone was laid reverentially upon a cairn of similar vows in a glade, niche or hollow.
The meaning of the oathing stone have subtly changed to be declared an honoring of the spirit of place, or a charm for luck and prosperity. BUt mostly, the oathing stone ritual has become more popular in modern times for there is the well-known saying; "to be set in stone" Call calling on the oathing stone within a wedding ceremony, where the couple would hold the stone whilst saying their vows to each other, would be considered both binding and deeply moving.
The stone itself can be of any shape and size. It can be one which is of natural beauty found in a special or meaningful location for the couple... or even one which is bought and fashioned with decoration and/or etchings.
During the ceremony, the officiant will introduce the oathing stone ritual at the beginning of the vows element. Whilst the couples recite their personal vows to each other, they can either together, or individually hold onto the stone.
After the wedding, the stone can be either kept or, as keeping with the older tradition, it could be cast away into a river, lake, or pond. Many couples choose to keep the stone and display it either in their home or garden.
An additional added element to this ritual could be for the couple to arrange small stones to be available for guests to either hold during the wedding ceremony - and then placed into a bowl or vase for keeping. Or, you could ask your guests to write their names onto their stones after the ceremony, keeping them as a memento of all whom attended your special day.
Although the exchanging of coins, money or in old times, a dowery, was very common in many cultures around the world - in Ireland, the custom of the wedding coin seems to have survived best.
The custom of the groom presenting his bride with a coin is said to date back to the time when the groom paid luck money to the family of the bride, in order to bring happiness and blessing upon them.
The wedding coin traditionally helped to signify the brides role as having parity between her and her husband.
His primary role was to rule outside the home, bringing in and protecting their prosperity.
Her role was to rule within the household, managing and utilising that prosperity as befit their station and wealth in society. She worked towards creating a future in the form of their children.
After the exchange of wedding rings the coin would be presented to the bride as a symbol of worldly goods.
There is a contemporary custom where the couple exchange coins and it is said that if the coins clink as they are exchanged the couple will be blessed with children.
After the wedding the gift is often preserved as a family heirloom and is passed from mother to eldest son on his wedding day.
Today many couples depend on two incomes in order to manage their financial needs. The words that accompany the giving and receiving of the coins can express the contemporary reality as well as communicate the sacrifice that each will make for each other.
Traditionally, in Irish wedding ceremonies, one silver coin would be given.
But, there is also a slightly different coin exchange ritual which comes from a Spanish tradition, the Arras. Arras in Spanish meaning "Pledge".
In this ritual, the coins are gold - and there are 13 of them.
Some say that the thirteen coins represent thirteen words;
Love, Peace, Commitment, Trust, Honesty, Respect, Joy, Happiness, Nurturing, Caring, Harmony, Wholeness and Co-operation.
Others say it is Jesus and the 12 Apostles... or the 12 months of the year and one extra as the honeymoon.
The thirteen coins are kept in a decorative box or bag, and they are presented to the officiant by the parents or grandparents of the groom. The officiant introduces the ritual and gives the coins to the groom. He then removes the coins from the box/bag and places them into the bride's cupped hands.
The bride accepts the coins and pours them back into the box/bag. She would then offer them back to the parents or grandparents until the ceremony concludes.
Example wording for Arras
(Officiant): The symbolism of the 13 gold coins in this ceremony is that the groom recognizes his responsibility as a provider, and pledges his ability to support and care for his wife. Acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence.
Thirteen gold coins, will now be counted out to the groom.
(Officiant): As I count out the 13 coins and place them in the grooms hands they also represent different values that the couple desire to share between themselves: Love, Peace, Commitment, Trust, Honesty, Respect, Joy, Happiness, Nurturing, Caring, Harmony, Wholeness and Co-operation.
Officiant to the Groom: (Name) please repeat after me.
I, (Name), give you (Name), these 13 coins as a symbol of my unquestionable trust and confidence I place in you as my beloved wife. As we unite our lives today I share all material responsibility with you.
Officiant to the Bride: (Name), please repeat after me.
I (Name), accept these coins and assure you of my total love and dedication in looking after you, your possessions and my unconditional love.
(Officiant): In exchanging these coins, (Name & Name) are essentially saying, "What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine.", knowing that they are also symbolic of the unlimited good the universe has in store for this loving couple.