*We have spent years gathering historic broom lore, sayings and old wives tales. We would like to share this with you here.
*Benjamin Franklin introduced broomcorn to the United States in 1725. He is said to have picked a single broomcorn seed off a broom of a Philadelphia lady, planted it and grew the first broomcorn in the United States.
*It is bad luck to loan your broom to anyone, even a friend.
*Welsh: A broom is placed aslant in the doorway of the cottage. It is used as a holy symbol of matrimony. The Bridegroom jumped over the broom into the house, followed by the bride. If either of them touched the broom, the doorpost or moved the broom, the marriage was void. The object of the Broom-jumping ceremony was a public setting apart of the couple for the purpose of child bearing and was interpreted as a partnership, not ownership. To get a divorce, the couple just jumps back over the broom handle, only this time they jump backwards. (1683 Curiog Valley, Wales).
*As sure as comes your Wedding Day, A broom to you I'll send; In sunshine, use the brushy part, in storm, the other end. (1887).
*Italy: When a broom falls, someone will Marry.
*Germany: If you drop a broom, you will get married the same day next year.
*A broom laid in a doorway would detain a witch from entering a cottage. For a witch would not cross over objects without first numbering the parts, and counting all the fibers of a broom would slow her progress. (Wales).
*Irish: Stand a broom upside down - Marry soon.
*Lithuania: If you step over a broom handle there will be no proposal this year.
*The Devil told the early witches to ride the broom like a horse and they could then levitate safely, because they were afraid.
*United States: If a wife sweeps a circle around her husband, it will keep him eternally true to her.
*If a single person wishes to marry, they should never let anyone sweep a circle around them.
*If a family changes residences, do not leave the broom behind, not even if it is old.
*A broom laid across your threshold on New Year's Day will keep evil spirits away for the rest of the year.
*Brooms bought in May, sweep the family away.
*It is bad luck to step over a broom, but good luck to accidentally walk under one. (It is easy to walk under a broom at the Victor Trading Co., as we hang the extra stock from the ceiling and we have a broom 'trade sign' hung over the sidewalk outside).
*If you place a broom on the floor, it will indicate to your guests that they have stayed long enough.
*It is bad luck to move a broom, a new house needs a new broom.
*A new broom sweeps clean.
*OLD WIVES TALES:
*To toughen new broom bristles so they will last longer, dip in hot salt water before using.
*Test a new broom by pressing the edges against the floor; if the straw bristles out and bend, the broom is a poor one. If the broom is good the bristles will remain in a solid firm mass (1920).
*If brooms are wet in hot soapy water when new and hung to dry, they will wear much longer. Tie strands of a new broom together and soak in boiling water for two hours to lengthen its usefulness.
*OTHER BROOM ODDITIES:
*In the late 1800's, Society women performed a "Broom Drill" as a fund raiser for those less fortunate. Men bought admission tickets to watch as a drill company of 8, 16 or 32 young ladies performed. Each woman carried a broom on her shoulder and performed precise steps of a drill taught to them by a soldier. Some tied a wide ribbon on the handle. Many times at the end of the drill, the young ladies sold their brooms to the bachelors in the audience for a high price...for charity, of course.
*In World War II, if they fired all their torpedoes successfully, the submarine crew would tie a broom to the conning tower when arriving in port, to signify a "clean sweep".
*When sweeping, use alternate side and corners of the broom, so that it may wear evenly.
*And...ALWAYS HANG YOUR BROOM UP AFTER USE!
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