Juneteenth: Celebration and Tradition

6/18/12 Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman; The annual Juneteenth parade traveled through East Austin streets Tuesday morning lined with thousands of residents cheering the floats and dancers while lining their pockets with candy and their hands with cardboard fans. The parade made its way down Chicon St. and into the heart of Rosewood Park for more festivities. DeMarcus Pierre leads the Greater Houston All Stars as they play and perform in the parade. (related story)

When I was growing up, I did not realize that not everyone in the country celebrated Juneteenth every year. My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, relatives, neighbors, and friends always celebrated this holiday. Everyone present did not completely understand the whole historical reason and story, but everyone understood the one fact that Juneteenth is the day that the slaves in Texas were finally freed. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, but the African American in the Lone Star State were not freed until Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas arrived June 19, 1865.

At the celebrations, there was always plenty of food, especially BBQ, all of the trimmings, a lot of desserts, games, and just a lot of people just getting together for a great time. We did this year after year. This was such a tradition that when I had my kids we also continued the tradition as well as many of my friends and relatives.

However, I realized something as I became grown and moved away from my small Texas town to other parts of the United States. The tradition of celebrating Juneteenth was not the same for others as it was for me. Some people had heard of Juneteenth from their parents and/or grandparents, and others had no clue what I was talking about. When I lived up North, I did not really celebrate it consistently. It was not until I moved back to Texas that we began to celebrate Juneteenth again. Looking back, I realized that the people I celebrated with during those years had come from different parts of the country and they had come up as children celebrating the holiday, and wanted to keep those memories and traditions in their families.

It does not matter if you are in a part of the country that has a large celebration for Juneteenth or not. Currently, I am in a part of Texas that Juneteenth is not widely celebrated. There are still many ways that you can celebrate in the workplace, community, and home. The Internet is best place to find places in your area. If there is nothing being planned in your area, create some and begin a tradition of your own!

What Is Juneteenth And Why Is It Celebrated

Juneteenth History

Featured Image: Nettare

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