So what exactly IS ‘Jumping the Broom’

@steadfastflowers

There has been a resurgence in beautiful ritual during ceremonies, with handfasting and jumping the broom, making a comeback.

As a hippie celebrant I love this fact!  I make brooms (known also as besoms) and decorate them in beautiful colours.  If the couple are also having a handfasting, I intertwine some of the handfasting ribbon or cord into the twigs.

You can also make your own besom, with both of you being involved in its creation, adding meaning and significance to your ceremony.

The history of jumping the broom (also known as a besom) goes back to a time when two people who could not afford a church ceremony, or want one, would be accepted in the community as a married couple if they literally jumped over a broom laid on the floor. The broom marked a ‘threshold’, moving from an old life to a new one.

Some say that the tradition began in Wales, others say it was popular in the Romany culture.  Pagans often use it as part of their handfasting ceremony.

Today, jumping the broom often takes place at the end of the ceremony and a little mead (made from honey, and appropriate for a love ceremony) can be drunk.  Mead is also the oldest drink known to man!  Of course, it doesn’t have to be mead, some couples drink whisky, gin and even mulled wine during an outdoor service in the winter.

The ritual signifies the setting up of home and heart together and rumour has it that whoever jumps the highest rules the roost!

If you would like to know more about jumping the broom, or would like to know about ordering a besom, please just let me know.

How to choose a Celebrant

Did you know that you can choose any Celebrant to deliver a ceremony on your behalf?

For both weddings and funerals, it is important that you choose a celebrant who is the right fit for you and your family. In celebrancy, as in life, there are lots of different personalities. You would not expect to get on with everyone you meet along life’s journey, there are some people who you really dont ‘gel’ with and you don’t know why. Celebrants come in all styles, and are more than happy to chat with you before you decide to book with them. We are not into hard sell, as we also want to work alongside people who have chosen us as we are the right ‘fit.’

For funerals, you definitely do not have to have the celebrant that the Funeral Director offers. Most Funeral Directors have a selection of celebrants that they work with. They are probably all brilliant, but if you have seen a celebrant at a service that you really liked, ask for them! If not, ask the funeral director to tell you about the celebrants they have on their books. Chat to them! It is the last hurrah after all, and you want someone who can send your loved one on their way in the style that they (and the family) would have loved. It should be a celebration of a life, not necessarily a sombre farewell (unless that is what you desire).

So, my message is, chat to the celebrant, see who you like, think of a celebrant you have seen before. If you don’t know their name, ask the family. If you still can’t find out, give me the details and I will find out for you if I can.

For wedding celebrants, chose someone carefully for similar reasons to the above. Wedding celebrants often have different specialisms, you might want a Pagan Celebrant, A traditional celebrant, a modern celebrant, a woodland celebrant (me!) There are lots of us out there

Let’s Talk Death

Why it’s important to plan your own farewell

I know it is a taboo subject, not easily discussed and difficult to face but it is not something that should be feared.  After all, it is inevitable and talking about it does not ‘jinx’ you into dying.

It is estimated that only 1 in every 9 people discuss their funeral wishes with their family or friends.  What a wonderful thing those 1 in 9 people have done.  They have helped their families during a time of imperceptible grief and relieved them of the worry of ‘doing the right thing.’ As a celebrant I have seen families deliberate and worry about all aspects of planning a funeral. They really want to give the person they have lost the funeral they would have wanted, but if they have not talked about it how would they know.

Writing down your wishes, allows your family and friends the time to free up space to take care of themselves during a time of grief.  The immediate days following the loss of a loved can see you in autopilot, being guided by other people and often in overwhelm.

A funeral director or celebrant will of course guide you through the process but by having given this a little thought the whole process can be easier and can help you to create a thoughtful and beautiful celebration of the life of your loved one.

There are lots of things for you consider and some of these will be discussed in future blog posts but for now, grab some paper, open up a document on your laptop or make a cup of tea and think about your final farewell.

Here are a few things to get you started.

  • Burial/cremation or natural/woodland burial
  • where your funeral should be held
  • where you want to be buried
  • where you would like your ashes to be scattered
  • whether you want flowers or donations at your funeral
  • how attendees should dress at your funeral
  • music choices
  • reading/poetry choices

Photo courtesy of naturalburial.org