The tradition of broom dancing at weddings has a long history that spans different cultures and continents.
But from its inception, it has “always been a practice used by those ostracized and oppressed by the nation, state, or wider realm,” says Tyler D. Parry, associate professor Research on African Americans and African Americans at the University. of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dr. Parry, author of “Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Cross-Cultural Origins of Black Wedding Ceremonies,” has been rooted in tradition since at least the 18th century, when it was largely performed. by the marginalized in Europe, he said, “so are tourist communities such as the Romanians of England, the rural communities of Wales, Irish individuals and many others living outside margin of the British Isles. ”
As Europeans who jumped over brooms at their weddings reached the United States, so did the ceremony. It was soon adopted by another marginalized population: those enslaved in the Southern United States. Dr Parry said: “While brooms are used in some rituals in West Africa, the earliest recorded examples of people of African descent jumping over brooms in the US are from the 1800s.
Because enslaved Africans generally did not have a legal right to marry before the Civil War, they considered broom jumping as a symbolic way to recognize their union. Over time, that population has “innovated, re-invented and reimagined broom-jumping the way they do,” says Dr. Parry. The custom was born from that to signify the sweeping away of the old and welcoming the new, the reunification of two families and paying respects to the ancestors.
Here, four Black couples explain how and why they incorporate tradition into their modern weddings.
‘The most transcendental experience’
Abram Jackson and Julius Crowe Hampton jumped the broom during their wedding on July 24, 2021, at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California, where they live. “In many ways, it was the most important element of the ceremony,” Mr. Jackson said.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Jackson, a 41-year-old high school teacher, has relatives living in Louisiana and the Carolinas since slavery. “We would be remiss not to honor our ancestors, who jumped broomsticks to affirm their love against all odds,” he said.
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Mr. Hampton has roots in Oklahoma and Arkansas. He bought the cinnamon broom the couple used at their ceremony at Trader Joe’s, then decorated it with mustard cloth and sage, their wedding colors, and sprigs of dried lavender and eucalyptus and juniper. (After their wedding, the couple hung it above their bed.)
Mr Hampton, 34, an elementary school teacher said: “Broom jumping has been the most transcendent experience of my life. “I felt as if I was lifted up by my ancestors as we took this leap of faith in the presence of friends, family, and community.”
“To jump the broom when two strange black men fall in love,” he added, is an experience “we will cherish forever.”
‘A fun moment’
“Our wedding was a combination of our experiences,” said Starrene Rocque, 39, of the ceremony she and Anslem Rocque, 45, held on January 14, 2012, in Akwaaba. Mansion in Brooklyn, where they live.
Rocque, a freelance journalist, is from the Harlem section of Manhattan, and has ancestors living in North Carolina, Georgia and Jamaica. Mr. Rocque, who works in branded content, grew up in Brooklyn; His family is from Grenada and St. Lucia.
The couple had their ancestors in mind when they decided to jump the broom during their ceremony. “We see it as an opportunity to bless our union in a unique black way,” said Mr. Rocque.
They bought a broom from Amazon and Kristi Cherry, a friend of Rocque’s, decorated it with ribbons and fake roses. in a palette of pink, purple and gray to match the couple’s wedding colors.
“When my best man put the broom in front of us, we held hands, counted to three and started together,” Mr. Roque said. “Everybody cheered and we did a celebratory dance – or more of a quick dance because I couldn’t really dance. It was a joyful moment and we walked down the aisle into our future. “
After the wedding, they framed the broom with one of their invitations and a piece of Miss Rocque’s veil. Now, the display is hung above their bed as “a constant reminder of our special day”, Mr. Roque said.
‘There’s no turning back’
The wedding of Valerie Newsome Garcia and Sinaka Garcia at a former motel in Brooklyn on March 22, 2018, was the second marriage of both.
While Ms. Garcia, 40, jumped the broom at her previous wedding, Mr. Garcia, 46, did not. He said that honoring enslaved Africans “who endured countless hardships” was one reason they chose to do it. Mr. Garcia, who is Black and of Puerto Rican descent, grew up in Brooklyn, where he owns a welding business; Ms. Garcia was born in Texas and raised outside of Washington, DC
She said that the broom they used was decorated by psychologist Garcia with handmade items, as well as “flowers and prints of my ancestors’ 1866 marriage records”.
The Atlanta couple had Garcia’s daughter, Sanai, as the “broom-bearer” who brought them to the altar. “Before she sat down,” Ms. Garcia said, Sanai reminded attendees of the importance of this moment.
Ms. Garcia recalls her saying: “Once you’ve jumped over, there’s no going back.
Currently, the broom is on display in their home, but Ms. Garcia plans to one day find a new owner.
“I will put our names and wedding date on the back of the marriage record and leave space so others can do the same as we pass it on to generations to come,” she said.
‘Tears streamed down my face’
Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes, both 36, started dating as sophomores at Hampton University in Virginia.
When it came time to plan their wedding, to be held on August 14, 2010, at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, Ms. Cudjoe-Wilkes, who was born in Queens and raised in Dallas, and Mr. Wilkes, who was born. and grew up in Atlanta, knowing they would jump broomsticks.
Cudjoe-Wilkes, founder and pastor at Double Love Experience, said: “The legacy of African-Americans choosing to commit during a time when they were considered three-fifths of a person in America is why at Why is that important to us? , a Baptist church in Brooklyn, where the two live.
She added: “The broom is a tool of resistance and joy. But protecting one was the couple’s last resort.
Ms Cudjoe-Wilkes said: “Somehow we forgot to buy a broom for the ceremony. “So our wedding coordinator ran to a local hardware store, bought a broom and quickly put a flower on it a few hours earlier.”
She describes their broom, which the couple still owns, as “a household broom, nothing fancy”.
“We imagine our ancestors jumped over the brooms they used to clean the house,” says Ms. Cudjoe-Wilkes. “Our broom means even more when we think about its simplicity.”
Mr. Wilkes, founder and pastor at Double Love Experience, said the act of jumping over it was “incredibly emotional”. “Tears streamed down my face.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/26/style/jumping-the-broom-wedding-tradition.html Why do black couples jump brooms