Juneteenth Celebration: How To Celebrate June 19th
The search term “Juneteenth” is seeing a big spike this year in google. Considering all that’s been going on with racial equality, it’s no wonder more folks are looking into Juneteenth celebration and how to honor it. To be transparent, this current uproar has sparked my own curiosity and encouraged me to dig deeper into this historical holiday.
As a black food blogger, who celebrates every holiday under the sun, my family and I have never really celebrated Juneteenth. Sure we acknowledge it by saying “Happy Juneteeth!”, but sadly that’s about it.
Yesterday my son asked me, “Mommy, what is Juneteenth?”. We’ve discussed this in our pass homeschooling lessons but clearly not enough to leave an impression on him. We’ve never included crafts, food, decorations, and a celebration, as it should be.
That has changed!
My family has adopted many new holidays over the years, and this year, Juneteenth will be added to the lineup. Juneteenth celebration has a history of rising and falling in popularity over the years. My household is taking responsibility to forever honor this celebration and pass it down to generations, just like our other traditions.
What is Juneteenth? (Juneteenth Celebration)
In a nutshell, Juneteenth is a celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States (for most). Two and 1/2 years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Texas slaveowners failed to tell their slaves that they were free. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers entered Galveston, Texas, to enforce the new order. General Order Number 3 was read to the slaves which states:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Can you imagine what that must have felt like? And to know that other slaves had been freed two years earlier!!??! You can read all about Juneteeth, and it’s history here.
Old-Fashioned Forgetten Tea Cakes are popular on Juneteenth! Here’s the recipe!
How to celebrate Juneteenth
Juneteenth is a time of joy, reflection, family, and education. Other names for this day include, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Emancipation Day and Cel-liberation Day. Many people have family cookouts, attend prayer services, and educational events. Parades, pageants, and outdoor activities are held to honor African-American history.
What are the colors for Juneteenth?
The main colors for Juneteenth are red, white and blue like the Juneteenth flag. The boys and I will be decorating with star balloons and making handmade gratitude paper chains in red, white and blue. We will be reading “A Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper, making homemade strawberry soda and of course lots of food!
Strawberry Soda and Juneteenth
Red drinks are popular for Juneteenth celebrations espcially strawberry soda. Strawberry soda was among the first drinks that freed slaves celebrated with. They were not able to drink this on the plantation.
Foods Served on Juneteenth
(Juneteenth Celebration Foods)
Red sodas, watermelon, and other red foods are popular on Juneteenth. BBQ and tradition soul food like fried chicken, red velvet cake, macaroni and cheese, collard greens are also served on Juneteenth.
It’s never too late to learn about Juneteenth and start celebrating and honoring this happy day! Start by making this delicious Southern Strawberry Ice Tea to enjoy while planning your festivities!!
Southern Strawberry Sweet Iced Tea
- 4-5 family-size tea bags I use Luzianne
- 6 cups water divided
- 4 cups ripe strawberries makes about 1 cup of juice
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- Frozen or fresh strawberries mint (optional garnish)
- In a small pot, bring two cups of water to a boil.(could also heat in microwave)
- Remove from heat and add tea bags.
- Let tea bags steep for 10 minutes before discarding the tea bags.
- Meanwhile, dice up strawberries.
- Place in a food processor and puree.
- Strain pureed strawberries through a mesh strainer, reserving the juice and discarding the pulp.
- In a large pitcher add tea, strawberry juice and sugar.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in 4 cups of cold water.
- Refrigerate until ice cold.
- Pour over ice and serve immediately.
- If desired used frozen strawberries as ice cubes and fresh strawberries or mint as garnish.