Back when I started this post, Juneteenth was two days away but didn’t finish because I am in the midst of some major changes and have been kind of busy, so here’s a brief recap of what went on for Juneteenth last month around the the United States. With lots more coverage every year, awareness of the holiday has spread and so have celebrations
- Here’s what went on in Harlem . . . celebrations replete with a parade!
- Memphis, Tennessee acknowledged Juneteenth with a weekend long celebration. For information check out the website at www.juneteenthmemphis.org
- And in Galveston, Texas where it all began, a 10-day festival was inaugurated
Juneteenth.com provides a pretty comprehensive guide to festivities around the world, including contact information. And don’t forget to take a look at this reflection on Juneteenth that I wrote last year.
Juneteenth, as many people are becoming aware is, of course, not an official holiday and the celebration itself is Texas-specific, so to speak (again, read my piece from last year and you’ll begin to understand why), though poignant and very symbolic. The truth is that from Mississippi to Washington D.C., different states commemorate the end of enslavement on different days, largely based on the actual month and day that Union troops plowed in and made it so, or based on the date of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Moving into summer, particularly in July we come upon the Emancipation Day season throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Emancipation Day, obviously refers to the day or the celebration of the day when enslaved Africans were freed (in theory) from bondage. It’s celebrated throughout the islands on different days, of course and in Haiti (and The Dominican Republic), Emancipation Day is Independence Day, for the obvious reason that Haitians were/are/will continue to be badass.
|JANUARY - MAY||JUNE||JULY||AUGUST|
1st Monday in August
(United States of America)
(United States of America)
*This table will be updated regularly. If there’s misinformation or if we’re missing something you think should be included please contact us and let us know.
By all accounts, Emancipation Day celebrations (sometimes called Liberation Day or Freedom Day) throughout the Americas and the Caribbean festivals and parades are held that often include ceremonies that pay tribute to the ancestors and inspire people to reflect on key figures and events that led to the end of enslavement in the area, as well as the struggles and triumphs that make populations of Afrodescendents in the Americas and the Caribbean so unique and dynamic.
Food and drink are a huge part of these celebrations and characteristically across the afro-diasporic culturescape of the Americas and the Caribbean with barbecues as a central focus of eating and preparing food. As with family reunions, barbecues represent a way for everyone to share in the preparation and enjoyment of food as the focus of a menu that will feature traditional, national dishes, and even those “special” dishes that everyone hopes will be on the table, like my Grandmother’s Checkerboard cake, for instance.
Do you have any special Emancipation Day dishes or menus you prepare? Share them with Roots Cuisine, we’re interested in collecting those recipes from around the world and sharing them with you. Share them below or email us at info [AT] rootscuisine [DOT] org. Thank you and Happy Emancipation Day!