Juneteenth is an American celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19 1865 that Major general Gordon Ganger landed at Galveston in Texas to announce the news that the slavery has ended and all the slaves at Texas were thereby set free of the bonding. This day is celebrated to honor the African American heritage and to remember and rejoice the emancipation of slavery. This day also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past and to plan into a better kinder and beautiful future with no discrimination or authority over a particular group.
The Juneteenth day is celebrated to recognize the Afro American freedom and to encourage self development and recognition and respect for all other culture. This day came to be recognized as an official holiday in Texas from January 1 in the year 1980; almost a century after the liberation of slaves at Texas. Today it is celebrated in many U S states besides Texas.
The freedom day or the emancipation day as it is called is celebrated with much enthusiasm in different part of the United States though it faced a decline in the beginning of the century. Family get together, parties and barbecue cook outs are conducted as a part of celebration of the freedom day. The day is celebrated with a lot of traditional African recipes and barbecue meat. It is a tradition to prepare and feast on red colored food on this day. Red soda water, strawberry cream soda and watermelon drink are a specialty of the day. Even the dishes prepared and the barbecue meat is done in red color; red rice, velvet red cake and red jelly pudding are other favorites of the Juneteenth celebration party. People sing and dance to traditional African songs on the occasion of the festival and dress up in traditional African clothes.
A wide range of activities and events are organized for the people to celebrate the Juneteenth Festival. Rodeos, parades, street fares and reenactment of the Juneteenth day are planned on the day which highlights the African cultures and the slavery practiced on the Afro Americans in the last century. Miss Juneteenth contest and fun games like eating the watermelon and traditional American games like football, basket ball and baseball are held on this day. Competition of strength, intellect, singing and dancing and cultural exploration are also conducted on the day which imparts joy and make the celebration more interesting. Churches and civic organizations organizes activities barbecue cook outs, family get together and picnics and other events which provides an opportunity to come closer with their family and fellow men.
Schools and educational institution conducts seminars, workhouses and classes to educate the children about the Juneteenth day and its importance. Quiz competitions, essay writing and craft making are also held in the Juneteenth week so as to make the children more aware about the culture and history of the country. Skits and reenactment of slavery and the emancipation day are also held during these celebration.The seminars and other activities conducted during the week also impart the importance of treating every fellow human and their culture with respect, into the new generation. Government institutes and libraries holds exhibitions and debates are conducted during the month of June.
The different activities and events that are planned to celebrate the Juneteenth day are aimed at educating the generation today about the cruelty and difficulty the African American slaves had to face in the last century and plan for a future where this discrimination and cruelty would not be repeated. Different activities planned on this day emphasize upon the afro American education and their achievements.