Marriages in the African American community sometimes feature a few aspects not commonly seen in other cultures - namely the "Jumping of the Broom" ceremony. Explore program wording and ideas on how you can incorporate this aspect of your ceremony into the program, and explain to your guests the meaning and history behind this segment of your wedding.
Order of Celebration
Seating of the Parents
Entrance of the Bride
Libation Offering for the Ancestors
A libation is a sacred communal ritual, used in traditional African life. The libation begins with an invocation to invite everyone to participate, followed by an introduction where ancestors, elders and family members may be named. The supplication asks God for good wishes, and the conclusion ends by sending the spirits home and thanking participants and praying that they leave more blessed than when they came. Like the wine in a communion, liquids used in libation are symbolic of the ancestral spirits. The libation closely follows the family lineage and is a recitation of a couple’s links to each family member, living, dead and unborn.
Tasting of the Herbs
Marriage does not promise a state of euphoria or peace on a daily basis. Traditionally, the bride and groom participate in a tasting of the four elements of life – bitter, sweet, sour, and hot – as well as water to cleanse the palate, as a way of demonstrating the fullness of experience that each married couple will come to know over time.
Charge to the Couple
Declaration of Intent
Commitment of the Families
Vows of Union
Blessing and Exchange of Rings
Pronouncement of Union
Lighting of the Unity Candle
Jumping the Broom
Minister: We end this ceremony with the African American tradition of jumping of the broom. As our bride and groom jump the broom, they physically and spiritually cross the threshold into the land of matrimony. Traditionally, jumping the broom was also a means of sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives.
It is also a call of support for the marriage from the entire community of family and friends. In honoring the ritual, Bride and Groom issue a hope and a prayer of sweeping away any hatred or prejudice between people of different colors, beliefs or traditions. The bride and groom will now begin their new life together with a clean sweep!
One of the attendants then hands the broom to the groom, who makes sweeping gestures to eliminate any negative energies. The groom then hands the broom to the bride, who places it on the ground in their path.
Minister: Everyone count 1, 2, 3... Jump! Together! 1, 2, 3... Jump!