Broom and Sweeping Superstitions
The broom has been connected to symbolism for centuries. In Ancient times the brooms in the temple were sacred and only those with clean hands were allowed to use them.
Throughout the years many broom and sweeping superstitions have been lurking about.
Would you believe it matters how you sweep according to superstition? It matters a great deal. You must always start by the door and sweep your dust inwards.
After you have gathered all your dust you may carry it outside to the trash.
It is told if you sweep your dust outwards towards the front door you will sweep your luck away.
In some places in South America they take an extra precaution when sweeping the outside doorway. Before you start your sweeping job fill a bucket with warm water and basil leaves. Soak the broom in the bucket and sweep away. This is supposed to bring luck into the home. They say it is extra lucky if you do it nine days in a row.
Yet others say you should dip your broom into cinnamon water. That should bring luck.
Many Chinese who are prone to superstition will never sweep in their home the first two days of the Chinese New Year. That would be like sweeping all good luck away from the home for the coming year.
Old superstition tells us you better not sweep over the feet of a person who is single. If you do that person will never marry. All hope is not gone. If that person remembers to immediately spit on the broom the “spell” is broken.
Another strange old superstition was that if a single woman stepped over a broom lying on the floor, she would become pregnant out of wedlock.
Wait a couple hours after your overnight guest has left before sweeping the guestroom. Superstitious believes state that if you immediately sweep room right after the guest has left, the guest will never return for another visit.
You should never sweep your home the first three days of mourning. That was said to sweep away prosperity and it certainly would offend the soul of the newly departed. This was and still is a superstition found in many parts of Africa.
In Europe it was told it was very unlucky to sweep your home after dark.
In England there was an old superstition in the 19th and 20th century that you should never bring a new broom into the home during the month of May. The reason is that the trees from which brooms were made start to blossom in May. That would be inviting bad luck. Some took it one step further and refused to sweep during the month of May. This was all bad news for broom sellers.
Storing Your Broom
When you put away your broom always place it with the bristles up. According to old superstition this act was a protective and good luck symbol.
It makes sense if we disregard the superstitious aspect. Placing your broom with the bristles up when you are not using it will help ensure the bristles are in good condition longer.
A New Broom for a New Home
If you plan on moving never pack your broom. It is bad luck to move an old broom into a new home. Always purchase a new broom for your new residence. If you want to get extra lucky make sure the new broom is in place before you move in.
Also be sure to sweep something into the home with your new broom before you sweep dust out of the home.
Remember the golden rule: never sweep dust from your home out the front door.
Accused of Sweeping Away the Neighbor’s Luck
During the Middle Ages sweeping without permission could prove to upset many people. It was common superstition that if someone else swept the dust from your front door they would sweep away your good luck.
In Ireland the first woman to be accused of witchcraft was named Alice Kyteler. In 1323 she was accused of some very serious crimes as murdering her husbands with poison and sorcery. She had four husbands.
Another accusation against Alice Kyteler was that she was trying to rob her neighbors of their money and good fortune by sweeping the dust from in front of their doors.
Alice Kyteler managed to escape and fled the country never to be heard from again. Her maid was not so lucky and was burned at the stake on November 3, 1324.
Jumping the Broom
Broomstick wedding was a common term during the 18th and 19th centuries in England.
Jumping the broomstick referred to weddings that were not commonly regarded as legal weddings.
In America slaves who lived on plantations had horrific lives. They were often refused the right to get married. Naturally they fell in love and yearned to commit themselves to the love of their life.
The slaves solved the problem by making their own wedding ceremony known as “Jumping the broom”.
When the wedding couple jumped over the broom together they were considered a married couple. The broom was a symbol of sweeping away the old and making way for new fresh beginnings.
Others claim the stick on the ground represented their new home. They jump into their new home together as a couple.
Lately many African-Americans have started taking up this old ritual as a way of acknowledging and honoring their ancestors.
The Wood of the Broomstick
Old tradition has it that the wood the broom was made of mattered.
Oak wood represented power, strength, and protection. Oak was the sacred tree of the Norse god Thor and the Greek god Zeus. The oak tree was also sacred to the Druids.
Ash wood was for roundabout protection of the home. In Norse mythology the World Tree called Yggdrasil was an Ash tree. According to Norse mythology the first man was created from the wood of the Ash tree.
On a side note it was also believed that broomsticks made from Ash wood would help witches fly faster.
A broomstick made from Redwood symbolized longevity. The reason quite obvious as Redwood trees can live for a few thousand years.
Beech wood symbolizes prosperity and stability.
Wood from the Walnut tree represented good health.
Wood from the Pine tree was simply good luck to the household. It was also rumored that the Pine wood could keep ghosts out.
Maple wood was supposed to bring love and prosperity into the home. In Asia the Maple leaf represents lovers.
The connection between the Maple and love seems to cross continents. Early American settlers would place a maple leaf at the foot of their bed to ensure great lovemaking followed by peaceful sleep.
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