“To marry over the broomstick,” “jump the besom”, was an old-time form of marriage, in which both parties jumped over a broomstick to signify that they were joined in common-law union. Also in the Netherlands, one can still find the old saying “over de bezem trouwen” (marrying over the broomstick). At gypsy
wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom jump backwards and forwards over a broomstick. A besom used to be placed before the doorway, the married couple had to jump over it without dislodging the broom, from the street into their new home. At any time within a year, this process could be reversed to dissolve the
marriage by jumping backwards. All this had to take place before several witnesses.
In folk-belief, like that in Yorkshire, it was unlucky for an unmarried girl to step over a broomstick because it meant that she would be a mother before she was a wife. Light-hearted wags used to delight in putting broomsticks in the path of unsuspecting virgins.