Come on, little baby, let’s jump the broomstick,
Come on, let’s tie the knot ….
American singer-songwriter Brenda Lee released her rockabilly song Let's Jump the Broomstick in 1959, but the practice of broomstick weddings goes way back beyond that. In England and Wales it was a vaguely pagan, informal substitute for a church wedding, very popular with gypsies and other free-thinking folks. The loving couple would leap over a broomstick or a branch of flowering broom, and consider themselves spliced. Sometimes the broom would be propped in the doorway of their new home, and jumping back again meant divorce! No one is quite clear what the symbolism of the broomstick is - could it be (gasp!) our old friend the phallic fertility symbol again?
Anyway, we’re not sure broomstick weddings are right for us now. They became sadly associated with the slave trade - only the free could get married in church. And the song is frisky and fun but it’s not the best choice for your first dance, not least because it lists every single family member as being against the marriage. And brooms mean work or witches, neither of which belong at your reception.
Er - who’s that at the back muttering about their new ma-in-law? Happy Halloween!
Photo credit: My Choice Freedom