The lowly broom has been around our civilization for centuries. It is said that Benjamin Franklin introduced broomcorn to the United States in 1725. He is said to have picked a single broomcorn seed of a Philadelphia lady, planted it and grew the first broom corn in the United States.
Folklore and Old Wives tales include traditional beliefs, customs, songs, and sayings about the broom. Included are beliefs about marriage, childbearing, festivals, warfare, hunting, and farming. The old myths are passed along in cultures all over the world. Folklore comes from everywhere on the planet, current and extinct. The following are only a few of the more prominent beliefs concerning the broom:
Do not lean a broom against a bed. The evil spirits in the broom will cast a spell on the bed.
If you sweep trash out the door after dark, it will bring a stranger to visit.
If someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you’ll never get married.
Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.
To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.
While you are sweeping near your front door, if the broom drops, be expecting company before the day is through.
If you find a broom lying on the ground or floor, pick it up for good luck.
When you are sweeping up dirt by your back door, be sure to sweep it out the back door instead of inward or you will be sweeping away the friendship of your best friend.
Do not sweep at all using a broom on New Year’s Day or bad luck will follow you all year long.
Any trash that you decide to sweep up on New Years Day, be sure to burn it so you will have money all year long.
When you are carrying a broom, carry it under your arm for good luck, if you carry it over your shoulder, you are sure to have bad luck.
Do not get mad and hit someone with a broom; if you do, you will find yourself in jail before the week is up.
Never sweep dirt out of your home before the sun comes up or you will be calling for bad luck to enter.
If the broom you are using happens to fall, it will bring you bad luck.
If you wish for someone that just entered your home to go away, all you have to do is sweep in front of them. This is a sign that you do not want them in your home.
If you are visiting someone and you have to step over a broom in her home, or outside the home, this means that she is not a good housekeeper.
Never hand someone a broom through an open window, it can bring you bad luck.
It is bad luck to loan your broom to anyone, even a good friend.
Stand a broom upside down and you will marry soon.
If a wife sweeps a circle around her husband, it will keep him eternally true to her.
There is a ceremony dating back to the 1600s which derived from Africa. Dating back to slave days, jumping the broom together has been part of weddings for couples who want to honor that tradition. The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as husband and wife.
I had always heard that witches ride brooms as their main mode of transportation. I’ve never actually seen one, so I will just have to place it in with the “old wife’s tales” mentioned above. So, now you know to be especially careful when you handle your trusty broom. Seems to me one can get into a lot of trouble if not careful, especially on New Years day.
BY: NEAL MURPHY
P.O. BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972