Juneteenth or the emancipation day is an American holiday which is celebrated by the people of all ethical and racial background to honor the African American heritage. It commemorates the setting free of the slaves at Texas after the Civil War on June nineteenth 1865. The word Juneteenth comes from joining the two words June and nineteenth and this day is celebrated on the nineteenth of June every year. This day is recognized as a state holiday in 35 states of the United States.
Juneteenth is celebrated to remember the release of over 250000 slaves on June 19. Around two and a half years before the release of the slaves from Texas, Abraham Lincoln the president of the United States issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. This proclamation declared the freedom of all slaves in the confederate state of America. But this had little effect on the status and life of the slaves in Texas as there were only a few numbers of union troupes in the state to enforce this order. It was after the Civil War that the General Gordon Ganger with his 2000 federal troupes landed the state of Texas. On June 18 general Gordon and his troupes arrived at Galveston at Texas to take the procession of the state and enforce the emancipation of the slaves. He read out the General Order Number 3 on June 19 by which he freed the bondage of all the slaves in the state of Texas.
To remember the release of the people from slavery it is a tradition to read from the Emancipation Proclamation on the day. The people start the celebration by attending prayer or religious ceremony which includes reading from the Proclamation. The people often sing traditional songs like swing low and lift every voice and sing as well as poetry from black authors. Competitions like Miss Juneteenth competition and traditional American games are organized during the celebration. Reenactment of the Juneteenth day and events like Black cowboys are conducted in the month of June. A wide range of festivities like street parade, fairs, family reunion and park parties add to the celebration. Cooking barbecue meat and having red soda drink are another traditional practice on the day.
Juneteenth is a day of celebrating freedom and the end of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated with family get together, picnics and partying. People observe this day by celebrating on the whole month of June or on the third week of it. This day is an occasion to honor, reflect and commemorate the suffering and pain undergone by the thousands of slaves in the whole of United States. It is a day to rejoice the one of first step towards the equality and right to live peacefully among the African Americans.
Today the day emphasizes the Afro American education, achievement and equality. On this day, government organizations and libraries conduct displays to commemorate and educate on the American history, slavery and its abolishment. Seminars and classes are conducted during the Juneteenth week to make the people aware of the cruel and hard life these innocent slaves had to face, it also brings with it the feel of humanity which prevents us from taking the same path. The slavery has been abolished, but many African Americans still have to face the humiliation and disrespect from their countrymen just because of their color. These talks and seminars are also aimed at sweeping away this feel of discrimination still prevailing in the society. Seminars, workshops and art classes are held at schools and other educational institutions to educate the upcoming generation about the slavery and the historical events that led to the emancipation of slavery.
People enjoy the day by organizing family get together and parties with tasty food and barbecue meat is a specialty of the celebration. Competition of strength, intellect and dancing and singing are other activities which heightens the celebration of the day. Churches, civic organization and business organizations conducts barbecue cookouts, dances, parades, games like basket ball, foot ball or base ball and other events to give a chance for African American get together. Rodeos and parades are also conducted as a part of the celebration.