The Broomstick Wedding in the British Isles
This chapter examines how various communities throughout the British Isles, including Celtic populations, the British Romani, and English laborers employed the broomstick wedding in their matrimonial celebrations. It showcases how marriage ceremonies in Britain largely determined one’s class status, as elites throughout England mocked folk ceremonies and dismissed the broomstick rituals used by common people or marginalized ethnic groups. However, this chapter shows that its practitioners found significant value in the ceremony for many reasons and adjusted its forms in accordance to their own communal needs. Consequently, there was no single way to “jump the broom” throughout the British Isles, as it was done in accordance with the specific group using it. The first chapter concludes by postulating how British migrants retained their marriage customs as they migrated to North America, and contextualizes the circumstances under which the broomstick wedding was extended to an enslaved population of African descent by the nineteenth century.
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