African American, Latin and Catholic Wedding Customs and Traditions

The USA and recently to many other countries have become homes to people from all over the world. These people enrich the cultures with their Old Country customs, traditions and cuisine. Many adhere to the wedding traditions and the customs of their ancestors.
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the African American, the Latin, the Catholic and the Jewish wedding rites, customs and traditions.
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African American

Broom – Jumping the Broom

Jumping the broom, is a custom that has its roots in Africa to symbolizes the beginning of making a home together.
It took on a deeper meaning when during the days of slavery in the USA, African American couples were not legally permitted to marry.
As a public announcement and a statement of their love and commitment, a man and woman jumped over a broom pronouncing their entrance into matrimony.
They saw the wedding broom not only as the threshold of the Holy Land of Matrimony, but as a means of sweeping away evil from the paths of their lives.
Some used a plain Colonial style broom others wove beautiful flowers, garlands and tied scraps of cloth and white handkerchiefs around the broom handle. The more common and personal the item, the better.

Today, ribbon has replaced the cloth and African-American couples who include this custom in their wedding ceremony use ribbons that coordinate with their wedding colors and silk or satin flowers that match their wedding flowers. When ribbons and artificial flowers are used, the jumping become a a lasting family keepsake.
It is customary to ask a family member or friend to tell the history of this custom. and while they do, the bride and groom together sweep the broom in a circle until the story is finished. They then place the jumping broom on the floor and hold hands and jump over it together.

Cowrie shells

Some African-American brides wear cowrie shell necklaces, and or decorate their attire with cowrie shell because, cowrie shells are believed to encourage fertility. A note of interest: Cowrie shells were once used as money. Today they are used for purification and as a symbol of beauty and power.

Tasting the Four Elements

A less known and less practiced African American wedding tradition, require that the bride and groom taste: lemon as representing the sour, vinegar as representing the bitter, cayenne pepper as representing the hot, and honey as representing the sweet and delicius times of marriage. This ritual dramatizes the “traditional” promise to love “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”

Catholic Traditions

Sacrament of Matrimony

A ceremony that consists, of at least three biblical readings, the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, the Prayer of the Faithful, the nuptial blessing, prayers and appropriate music.
The Sacrament usually takes place during a Nuptial Mass in the morning or early afternoon.


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