Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Folklore

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Sweeping Under My Feet

My life in appalachia sweeping under my feet

It never failed, when I was a young girl and someone was sweeping around me they’d say “Don’t let me sweep under your feet or you’ll never marry.”

I was reminded of the old saying at work one day last week and shared it with a friend as she tried to sweep around me. I said “Don’t worry-I’m an old married lady so I don’t have to worry about someone sweeping under my feet now.”

A few other sweeping sayings:

  • You’ll have bad luck if you sweep after dark
  • Never sweep twice in one place (how in the world could you manage this one?)
  • Don’t step over a broom
  • When a couple weds-it is referred to as jumping the broom
  • If you sweep the dirt out the door on New Year’s Day you’ll sweep all your good luck from the coming year out with it too


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    September 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    How interesting! I’ve never heard any of these. Wonder why too, cause both of our Grannies were superstitious, at least about certain things. I don’t know how many times I got salt tossed into my face, from walking behind one of them after they’d dropped something or other, can’t remember why did that though. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    August 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    We were taught not to sweep over or touch someones feet with a broom. It was considered bad luck. Not sure why, or where it came from.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Tipper,don’t sweep the durt under the rug. God Bless. Jean

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I remember hearing my mother say that you should never take your broom with you when you move to a different house…leave the old troubles behind and get a new broom!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Sure wish I had known about the broom thing a long time ago. My feet never would have touched the floor when a broom was in motion. “Bring it over here again, you missed a spot.” “No, that wuddn it!” “It’s right here. Inunder my feet!” “You need some glasses?”

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    August 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    My husband swept me off my feet at a contra dance and we jumped the broom 25 years ago. I have a picture around here somewhere of the moment and still have the broom. It was one I made myself and I hope it gets used for my son one day – I’ve tried my best not to sweep under his feet!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Okay, sweeping sayings have never been used around me, that is, being a city girl. However, I think that there might be some deep rooted reasons they become well known in some areas. Being swept off your feet by a man or woman is a saying I am familiar with. Maybe a bit more research might reveal their history!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    That’s a funny saying because there is also a saying, “He/she swept me off my feet” meaning getting totally taken with someone. And I agree with you, I don’t know how you go about not sweeping in the same place twice!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    These are all new to me (except jumping the broom – probably from the movie). Grandma and Granny always told me to keep my house swept clean or our family would have bad luck – perhaps from all the little critters living in the dust that can give you the itchies!!
    Vacuums are so noisy that I’d rather sweep than vacuum any day – and the new pad covered cleaners like swiffer do an even better job than a good broom! (I like the pads you can wash.) Wonder what sayings might develop for the new tools?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Oops, that is “Mary Poppins” not the “Sound of Music”….At any rate the songs were great and starring Dick Van Dyke…
    “Chim..Chimaree, Chim, Chim Charoo….or something like that!
    I’m getting very old you know!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I swept yesterday, just to keep from
    vacuuming. Guess I’m just a bit
    lazy cause I never liked to move so
    someone could sweep under my feet.
    Seemed to me like they only started
    sweeping when a GOOD Football game
    was on, so they could get in front
    of the TV.
    You wouldn’t have to worry about me sweeping on New Year’s Day, it’s to blooming cold…Ken

  • Reply
    Walter Wall
    August 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Someone told me one time that if you left a broom standing in the middle of the floor it be standing there waiting when you got back. Can you believe that?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Then there is the “Chimney Sweep” of the “Sound of Music”….
    To think he let his Jaguar burn to a crisp this week! LOL Remembering Dick Van Dike!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…When one is angry at another for some silly reason…One says: Go ride your broom and cool off! One of my favorites….LOL

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

    “Don’t let me sweep under your feet. You’ll never settle down.”

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    August 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Oh my! Some of these warnings are new to me but certainly the one about ‘never getting married’ was often heard at my house of SIX GIRLS! I am sure the FIVE BOYS never had that said to them BECAUSE they never swept the floors!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 24, 2013 at 7:15 am

    The only one of those I’ve heard is that you’ll never marry if someone sweeps under your feet.
    Wonder where all these broom expression come from. How about being swept off you feet by a charming man, or woman, as the case may be.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 24, 2013 at 7:08 am

    There are lots of sayings about brooms. Witches are always portrayed with them.
    To clean your house, first you must sweep out all the negativity, then break the broom, then never sweep out the door again as you mentioned before you sweep out the luck.

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