What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated? from What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?

What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?

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What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is celebrated annually on June 19. Every year on this day, families throughout the U.S. gather to commemorate African-American freedom, as it was on this day in 1865  two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation  that the slaves in Texaswere finally liberated. This important day in American history is now marked throughout the country with parades, reunions, speeches, and enormous barbecues.

What is Juneteenth?

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What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth," is the oldest known celebration which commemorates the end of slavery in this country and the beginning of African-American freedom in the USA.

How Juneteenth Celebrations Began

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How Juneteenth Celebrations Began

Despite being encouraged by their former masters to stay and work as they had been, but now for pay, the majority of the freed slaves left Texas immediately, fleeing to the North in pursuit for true freedom, to the neighboring states to find family, or simply out int the streets to celebrate with friends, family, food and drink.

Prayer

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How Juneteenth Celebrations Changed

Juneteenth rapidly grew from being a small celebration amongst Texan African-Americans to being a widely celebrated holiday, as descendants, family members, and friends of those who were enslaved in Texas dispersed themselves across America. Many former Texan slaves would make an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date, to pray, gather together their family, and mark this important day celebrating freedom.

Classic Juneteenth Activities

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Classic Juneteenth Activities

Juneteenth celebrations now take place throughout America. Typically the larger celebrations will include parades and street fairs, Texas rodeobaseball games, and prayer services.

Important Juneteenth Speeches

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Important Juneteenth Speeches

Juneteenth focuses everybody’s attention on education and self-improvement, and as a result, guest speakers are often called upon to give a motivational speech, or to recount memories of the past. Public readings of the emancipation also take place, alongside readings from works by prominent African-Americans.

Holiday Barbecues

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Holiday Barbecues

Almost every Juneteenth celebration centers round a barbecue: Families get together and host a huge cookout. While smoked brisket is now one of the most popular Juneteenth barbecued meats, in the past, a whole spit-roast pork or lamb would be barbecued overnight to celebrate this important holiday.

For the Barbecued Beef Brisket recipe, click here.

Side Dishes

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Side Dishes

Alongside the beef brisket, and other barbecued meats, you’ll find classic barbecue side dishes, such as potato salad and collard greens, as well as a special dish called the Marcus Garvey bean salad, made of black, red, and green beans, to represent the black national flag. Chicken and peanut soup will often be served before the barbecue, and smothered chicken is often cooked as an extra entrée.

For the 15 best potato salad recipes, click here.

Red Soda

Red Soda

The first drink that the freed slaves celebrated with was a red soda, which they weren’t able to drink as slaves. This would have been a crushed strawberry soda, but now it’s common to celebrate with today’s equivalent, Big Red, which is a popular Texan drink.

To learn how to make a Big Red BBQ Glaze, click here.

Holiday Desserts

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Holiday Desserts

The huge Juneteenth cookout will always end with something sweet, and the most common dessert, in keeping with the red  and Southern  theme, is red velvet cake. A slice of this colorful cake, decorated with cream cheese frosting, makes the most suitably decadent end to this incredibly important annual holiday.

For the Red Velvet Cake recipe, click here.

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Holiday Barbecue

What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?