The Juneteenth holiday that's been celebrated on June 19th of every year since 1865, is a day to remember when the Union soldiers enforced the emancipation rules and freed all remaining slaves on June 19th, 1865. This is a day to celebrate freedom and equal human rights across the United States.
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Is Juneteenth a publicly celebrated holiday?
The Juneteenth holiday is a state holiday in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Virginia. It is a holiday observed in almost all the United States as well as in the Districts of Columbia.
In some of these states, the workers of the state may have a day off their various jobs. Post offices, stores, other businesses and organizations are likely to still be open as usual but in some areas, some of them may be closed or have restricted opening hours.
A large number of the public transits would still operate on their usual schedule however, there could be some changes to it. There is a huge chance that there’d be disruptions to traffic around large scale public events.
What people do on Juneteenth
There is a large range of community, public and private events held in several places to celebrate Juneteenth, often during weekends close to June 19th. Some of these include:
- Basketball games
- Workplace lunches
- Presentations of community service awards
- Essay or artwork competitions for young people
- Community flag-raising ceremonies
- Potluck outdoor cookouts, barbecues or picnics
- Juneteenth displays in city halls, libraries, schools and post offices.
- The distribution of Juneteenth buttons, t-shirts, mugs and bags.
People may also decide to decorate conference rooms, their stores or the front of their homes with Juneteenth banners, yard signs and flags to raise awareness.
The history of Juneteenth
The US’s history of Slavery could be traced back to the 16th century when Spanish explorers carried along African slaves with them to the new world. It lasted until the Emancipation proclamation was put into effect on January 1, 1863.
On that date, Texas was controlled by forces that had been fighting for the confederate states, who were opposing the abolition of slavery. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived to take control of the state and force the emancipation of slaves in the state. Celebrations were then held in public settings and this laid the foundation for future Juneteenth celebrations.
The word “Juneteenth” was curated from “Nineteenth” and “June” being combined together.
After 1865, this holiday was especially celebrated in Texas; parks were established on lands owned by former slaves to hold Juneteenth celebrations in the Texan cities of Austin, Houston and Mexia. It is however now an holiday or observance in more than half of the states in the US and there are campaigns for it to become a national holiday or observance throughout the nation.
Juneteenth celebrations are likewise also observed in some other countries in the world like Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Ghana and Japan.
Symbols of Juneteenth
The Juneteenth flag is made up of a rectangle, the lower part of it being red and the upper part being blue, it also has a solid white, five star pointed at its center. This star also has around it a white outline of 12 pointed stars. This flag is very often displayed alongside the US flag to symbolize that slavery is illegal in the US.
In Texas and some other southern states in the US, the official drink for June 19th is a Big Red Soda. These varieties of soda are sweet, also soft flavored and mixed with orange, lemon oil, and also with vanilla. It is available in a large range of flavors and it can be with or without caffeine and sugar.
There are a large number of holidays celebrated in the US but this one is of a sentimental significance.