Ode to The Broom

We had occasion to visit some of the girl’s friends’ new digs a week or so ago.  This new home (though it was rather old…actually REALLY old) seemed to have “other occupants”.  Unwanted by the new occupants. When this dilemma was shared, my first response was “Tell me you didn’t bring an old broom in here!”.  A throwback to my childhood, which was a little more than interesting in the superstition department.  Indeed they had.  OH NO!! Take it out NOW! So “new occupant” quickly ran outside with TWO old brooms and flung them out into the yard.  We picked them up and carried them away as we left.  We DID NOT bring them in our house either.  They went straight to the dumpster.  The next day Hannah delivered a new, unused broom as part of our housewarming gift.  She gave them instructions on how to sweep around the perimeter of the house (inside) and then sweep the dirt and “whatever else” out the front door.  Reports are it worked.  DUH.  There are just some things that shouldn’t be triffled with, you know? Here are a few more “rules” passed down to me:

  • Never buy a new broom in May. (you will loose a friend)
  • If a girl inadvertently steps over a broom handle she will become a mother before a wife
  • Laying a broom in front of a doorway will keep unwanted guests away

Oh there’s more, much MUCH more.  Not about brooms, but oh my what a colorful family I come from!  My mother’s family was the most superstitious bunch I have ever met!  Sometimes it was hard to keep up with all the “rules”!

In case you have occasion to buy/put together a housewarming gift here are a few suggestions:

A wooden (so the new home will be stable and harmonious)  basket filled with

  • Bread so they will never go hungry
  • A Candle so they will always have light
  • A Coin to bring them good fortune
  • Honey to bring sweetness to their life
  • Knife to protect the home against intruders
  • Olive Oil for healthy
  • A Plant so they will always have life
  • Salt so they will always have spice in their life
  • Wine so they will never go thirsty (substituting sparkling cider as this friend is under age!)

You of course don’t have to give all these things…any combination is welcome!

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I love this housewarming gift. I’ve not heard of the poem that accompanies it but I like it so much I’ll use it the next time someone goes into a new home.

I grew up with the superstitions of the time:

1. You MUST wait an hour after eating before swimming. Or else you’ll get a cramp and die.

2. If you go outside in the winter, with wet hair, you will catch a cold.

Ummm…that’s about it.

Let’s see what superstitions you bring home from England? That’ll be interesting!

I didn’t know about the wooden basket – I like that. But . . . the gift of a knife can sever a friendship. The friend should give you a penny in return, thus “buying” the knife from you.

And the smell of Pine-Sol repels warm-blooded pests – from bears to mice. Cleaning with it, spraying it about, or tucking some Pine-Sol-soaked rags into attic or crawlspace can keep those intruders away.

What a great post. I’ve heard of the prohibitions regarding brooms and I find them fascinating!


wow…never heard of any of these things! I hope to keep the list so that if I ever have need to give a housewarming gift, I’ll remember. But I’ve seldom given a housewarming gift.

Ok, I am confused. Is the unwanted ones Ghosts or are they mice? Can they not sweep and clean, or did the old broom bring in an old spirit? I may be tired… ha ha.

Fascinating! Thought i was up on things ,on this post i sure
learned a lot ,
thank you so much for sharing it with us!
hugs ginger

Loved reading all these quaint old wives tales and customs. I just adore anything like that. I find it all so fascinating. I’m with Michelle, were the unwanted ones Ghosts or mice?

By unwanted guests I was referring to ghosts. Though I would MUCH rather than ghosts than mice! YUCK!!!