The besom is a long-handled tool with a bundle at one end that was once made from the broom plant, which grows on European heaths and pastures. Broom is characterized by yellow flowers and angular branches ideal for bundling. Thus, the instrument made of this plant came to be known as a broom.
Since Roman times, the broom has been associated with feminine power and magick. Prior to childbirth, women used a broom to sweep the threshold of a house both for protection and to prepare the way for the new spirit to enter. Gypsy marriage rituals included jumping over a broomstick to ensure the couple's fertility; this ritual neatly marked the line between single and married life. The broom appears in the folklore of various countries and cultures, such as these:
In some parts of the Western world, a broom propped up outside a house identified it as a house of prostitution.
In Madagascar, women danced with brooms while their men were at war in order to sweep away the enemy.
In China, the broom represents wisdom and insight because it brushes away worries.
In Japan, brooms are used during spring rituals to purify the ceremonial space.
In Victorian-age America, a new broom would never be bought in May, “lest you sweep the family away.”
No, witches don't fly on brooms — that's just a colorful misconception. Instead, they use them to sweep away unwanted energies from sacred space.