Broom—Traditional instrument of WITCHES. Also, in parts of Europe it is considered bad luck to sweep on Halloween, because of the souls seeking sanctuary in the home. In Ireland, one particular FORTUNE-TELLING custom had a young girl with a mouthful of WATER riding a broomstick to her NEIGHBORS’ door, where she would listen at the keyhole to hear the name of her husband-to-be.
In another custom, girls rode wooden RAKES round the CORN stacks at MIDNIGHT on Halloween. The association of witches and broomsticks seems to have been an invention on the part of the Christian witch-hunters, and may have represented a desire to persecute women (by associating witches with perhaps the most common household tool) in particular.
The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved