Juneteenth is the day of celebration in America which commemorates the setting free of slaves and the abolishment of slavery in the U S state of Texas on June 19, 1965. The day is also called the Emancipation Day or Freedom Day and is celebrated on the nineteenth of June or the whole week around the day. Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June Nineteenth formed by joining the two words. This holiday honors the African American heritage and commemorates the African American freedom and it is a day of reflecting the past and a day of renewal in to a new and kinder human race.
On September 22 1862, during the civil war, the president of United States, Abraham Lincoln issued an Emancipation Proclamation that declared the freedom of all slaves in the confederate state of America by the first of January 1963. But this proclamation had minimal or no effect on the practice of slavery in the state of Texas and the lives of the slaves remained the same. The proclamation did not have effect on the slaves of Texas because of minimum number of Union troupes in the state to enforce the new order.
The civil War ended on April 9th 1965 and two months later on June 19th Union General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston in Texas with the news that the war had ended two months earlier and the slaves were free. General Ganger's Order number 3 which declared the freeing of all the slaves from then on, was accepted with immediate jubilation and celebration. This order freed the bondage of the remaining 250,000 slaves in the state.
The Juneteenth became the official holiday of Texas in the year 1980 and later on the observation spread to many other states in America and even some other countries.
Juneteenth has been declared the official holiday of Texas but it is only a partial staffing holiday and the state offices do not close on the day. Thirteen other states also list it as an official holiday but the Lone Star State remains the only state granting it as a full state holiday, a day when government employees have the day off.
Juneteenth festival has been observed either as a day or weeklong celebration of the African American history and culture. The day's celebration is opened with a prayer or religious ceremony and includes a reading from the Emancipation Proclamation. Food and barbecue dinner are a specialty of the day and music and dance heightens the joyous celebration. Many events and competitions are hosted on the day and parades and rodeos are also conducted to mark the celebration. Baseball games, Miss Juneteenth contest, picnics, family gathering, barbecue cookouts, and parties are organized on the day which provides a chance for the African Americans community members to get together and enjoy the day.
Seminars and classes are conducted around the week or during the full month of June to discuss and educate about the condition prevailing in the country a century ago and the outlook of the people today. Government organizations and libraries create displays to honor the African American history. Many programs and competitions are conducted in the schools that educate the younger generation about the day.
The Juneteenth festival is a way to connect to the African American history and slavery. It is a time for reflection and also a time to recognize, encourage and respect different culture and different people.
Juneteenth festival is celebrated to commemorate the freedom of thousands of people from the hard and tiring life as a slave; it is a day to observe the African American freedom from the evil hands of slavery. This day gives us an opportunity to reflect, honor and pay respect to the suffering of the African slaves.
It is a day to honor the hardship, torture and suffering of the innocent slaves and a time for assessment, self improvement and planning for the future where this dark and cruel slavery or discrimination would never be repeated. The motive of the Juneteenth festival is to endorse family bonding and cultural awareness among the African American community. It is a day to acknowledge the 200 years of slavery and humiliation faced by the African Americans. On this day we can take at least one step towards oneness among the fellow human being; oneness irrespective of race, religion, sex or nationality.