Veterans Day, Remembrance Day: Thank a vet, honor history in a virtual event

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11: Give a virtual shout-out, call a veteran you know or make a sign to express your gratitude to a veteran in your neighborhood, today—the options are endless! However you recognize those who served America, Veterans Day is celebrated today across the country; in Canada, those who served are also recognized, in an observance known as Remembrance Day.

2020 NEWS: The U.S. Army will open the National Museum of the United States Army on this date—November 11, 2020—in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Read the story from the U.S. Army, or in the Fort Lee Traveler.) It will be the only museum to relay the entire history of the U.S. Army since its establishment, in 1775. The museum will open its doors to the public today (with health safety measure in place), but the opening will be preceded by a small ceremony that will be livestreamed. A link to the livestream will be posted on the museum’s website, at http://www.theNMUSA.org.

Care to See More?

Here’s a video about the new museum—

How It All Began

Another way to prepare for Veterans Day is to order a copy of the 100 Questions and Answers about Veterans, a book that’s packed with information veterans told us they wish more Americans understood about their lives and experiences. Click this image to visit Amazon.

In the United States, the idea of setting aside a special day to honor the men and women who served their country dates to a Nov. 11 observance at the close of World War I. The world’s “Great War” officially ceased on June 28, 1919, but the fighting had actually stopped seven months earlier, on Nov. 11—and thus, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919 as the first Armistice Day. Nearly two decades later, November 11th was declared a legal holiday in the United States.

By 1954, the world had survived WWII and the Korean War, and a WWII vet began raising support for a more general Veterans Day. Among other arguments made in this campaign: WWII had required even more soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen than WWI. At the urging of citizens, November 11th officially became Veterans Day in 1954.

In Canada, Remembrance Day is observed with a moment of silence and ceremonies. Remembrance Day, originally called Armistice Day, was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth in commemoration of the armistice agreement that ended World War I. Armistice Day was first observed as “Remembrance Day” on November 11, 1931; the poppy is the official symbol of the day.

HELP A VET; LEND A HAND

America’s millions of veterans need help for a wide range of lingering issues in their lives, so be sure to check on regional efforts to find out how you can help. Some noted peace activists within religious groups now are urging a greater awareness of the needs of veterans’ families, too.

Did you know? A whopping 44 percent of men and women who serve in the U.S. Military are residents of rural areas, according to a White House Report—even though rural residents overall only account for 17 percent of the country’s population.

2020 VETERANS DAY FREEBIES & DISCOUNTS: Many restaurants and retailers offer special prices for veterans on Veterans Day, though this year, things may look a little different amid struggling businesses and new health and safety protocols. (Military.com has an article on this story.)

Check out MilitaryBenefits.info for a full listing restaurants, retailers and more offering Veterans Day freebies and discounts for 2020.

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Allhallowtide, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos & Halloween: A spook-tacular weekend

Three lit jack-o-lanterns with faces

Photo by William Warby, courtesy of Flickr

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31 and SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1 and SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2—From Samhain to Mexico’s Day of the Dead to Halloween, world cultures celebrate the belief that at this time of year, the veil between this world and the next is particularly thin—and ancestors are held close. Don’t worry, it’s not all solemn and bone-chilling, though—today’s secular Halloween also brings out bright Jack-o-lanterns, loads of candy and a pretty good excuse for adults to join in on the fun with kids. So grab your best ghoulish mask and get the (Halloween) party started!

THE COVID-19 HALLOWEEN FORECAST

Like most publicly celebrated holidays in 2020, the pandemic has dramatically changed the way Halloween will be celebrated this year. Here are a few headlines:

BUSINESSES ARE SHIVERING THIS YEAR! On October 1, MarketWatch carried one of many business reports predicting a downturn on the commercial side of the holiday under a headline: Halloween sales forecast could be frightful Tony Garcia reported, in part: “More than half, 52%, of consumers say they will buy less candy this year. And 73% expect to celebrate Halloween differently.”

BUT, WHO KNOWS? 148 MILLION STILL WILL CELEBRATE. On October 14, Kimberly Amadeo reported in The Balance that the magnitude of 2020 celebrations is changing dramatically—so retail sales may not tell the whole story. Millions still are planning to celebrate and some may wind up with even more elaborate plans, as a result.

A SWEET REPORT FROM CONFECTIONERS. Of course, the National Confectioners Association has a vested interest in a sweet forecast and, in September, did report via PR Newswire that chocolate and candy sales appeared to be rising.

DAWN OF ‘THE CANDY CHUTE’ Americans are known for their innovations! Reports nationwide are describing various models of “candy chutes” so homeowners can still deliver candy to kids from a safe distance either up on a porch—or even from an upstairs window! We’ve heard of these chutes made from common pieces of rain gutters—like the one that members of Clarkston United Methodist Church in Michigan built so they could continue to offer free holiday treats to their town’s children this year. Here’s a Detroit News story about a chute made from PVC pipe. Here’s an NPR story that mentions chutes made from cardboard tubes.

Maybe Halloween 2020 will be remembered for years as the dawn of the “candy chute”!

HAVE YOU SEEN A CANDY CHUTE?

HALLOWEEN: A CHRISTIAN ORIGIN; A CULTURAL PHENOMENON

Allhallowtide, the triduum of Halloween, recalls deceased spirits, saints (hallows) and martyrs alike, in one collective commemoration. The word Halloween is of Christian origin, and many Christians visit graveyards during this time to pray and place flowers and candles at the graves of their deceased loved ones. The two days following All Hallows Eve—All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day—pay homage to the souls that Christians believe are now with God. In medieval England, Christians went “souling” on Halloween, begging for soul cakes in exchange for prayers in local churches.

Halloween’s secular side has emerged during the past century, and today, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted houses, watching horror movies and dressing up like favored characters has become custom in Western culture. Recent estimates are that the very diverse American business of “haunted attractions” brings in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and the commercial elements of Halloween have spread from North America to Europe, South America, Australia, Japan and parts of East Asia.

SAMHAIN: GUISING FOR A TRICK

pumpkin candles darkness

Photo courtesy of Pxhere

The original Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and ushered in winter, or the “darker half” of the year, in Gaelic Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. During this time of year, bonfires were lit for the purpose of divination and as a protective and cleansing measure. Legend has it that spirits could easily come to earth, and many people would leave out food and drink for the roaming entities.

In many households, ancestors were welcomed to the table with particular enthusiasm, and large meals were prepared. Multiple sites in Ireland were, and still are, associated with Samhain, and the spirits that emerge there at this time of year. Guising—donning a costume—was thought to “trick” ill-intentioned spirits roaming the streets near Samhain, and hallowed-out turnips were lit with a candle and placed in windows, their monstrous carved faces frightening bad spirits.

Today’s Samhain emerged as part of the late 19th century Celtic Revival, and Neopagans, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans and Wiccans all celebrate the holiday, in slightly varying ways. Most keep the widespread traditions of lighting bonfires, paying homage to ancestors, welcoming the “darker” season and preparing feasts with apples, nuts, meats, seasonal vegetables and mulled wines.

MUERTOS: DAY OF THE DEAD

Vibrant decorations for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, mark towns in Mexico and Latin American communities far and wide, as the lives of the departed are celebrated with vigor. The full festival of Dia de los Muertos typically lasts two or three days (in some regions, customs begin on October 31), and traditionally, November 1 pays tribute to the souls of children and the innocent while November 2 is dedicated to deceased adult souls. In Mexico, relatives adorn altars and graves with elaborate garlands and wreaths, crosses made of flowers and special foods. Families gather in cemeteries, where pastors bestow prayers upon the dead. For children, Dia de los Muertos celebrations mean candy like sugar skulls and once-a-year treats; music and dancing delight celebrants of all ages.

ALL THINGS HALLOWEEN:
DIY COSTUMES, DÉCOR, PARTIES & MORE

What’s Halloween without some good costumes and tasty treats?

Columbus Day: What do we do with a holiday after toppling three dozen statues honoring its “hero”?

The fallen Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol after a group led by American Indian Movement members tore it down in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 10, 2020. CLICK ON this photo to learn more at the Minnesota Public Radio website.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 12: How are Americans marking Columbus Day, if at all?

They’re shopping. Yes, it’s still a public holiday in many parts of the U.S. A review of Google-News stories covering the holiday in 2020 shows an overwhelming attention to sales—from mattresses to new cars—and also to family activities having nothing to do with historical reflection—like where to go see the most colorful leaves across the northern states.

It’s as if newspaper, TV and radio journalists somehow missed the fact that three dozen Columbus statues have been toppled nationwide, according to Wikipedia’s tracking of these removals.

Here’s a prime example: U.S. News‘s cheery headline for the occasion is—U.S. News Announces the Best Columbus Day Car Deals for 2020This up-beat story announces: “Columbus Day weekend is a great time to take advantage of an affordable lease offer or a no-interest financing deal.”

And, perhaps that’s a fitting end to a turbulent year in which Columbus’ controversial aura as an American “hero” was extinguished across many regions of the United States. This holiday is still on the books in many places, but it’s fading in significance. Meanwhile, many regions continue to actively downplay the old observances. Among the most recent taking action was the Baltimore City Council. In the Southwest, Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey recently gave indigenous people a special salute alongside the existing October 12th Columbus observance.

Why do we think it’s fading? Well, we also note that Forbes is reporting that Columbus Day sales are losing their traditional appeal. Maybe the U.S. News staff was a little too quick to climb on the Columbus bandwagon for one more year.

The Washington Post traveled to Italy to publish a somewhat positive story about the holiday under the headline: Much of America Has Stopped Celebrating Columbus Day, but the Explorer Remains Revered in Italy. To its credit, that Post story begins with an overview of this year’s protests across the U.S. The Post staff didn’t forget all those protests in cities nationwide.

Apparently trying to change the subject, The New York Times’ main coverage of the holiday (as of October 11) is a book review, recommending 5 Books to Help Your Child Understand Columbus Day. We have to give the Times a salute for coming up with a constructive story about the holiday that actually involves exploring our history with kids. And, stay tuned, maybe the Times will post something else about Columbus Day on the 12th or perhaps in its wake if more protests emerge.

After all, we certainly need to think about the complicated roots of cultural and racial clashes that formed our American communities across these North and South continents. We’re doing that already in a host of ways. All year long, holidays and festivals across North America reflect the colorful facets of America’s growing cultural diversity.

But few holidays have exposed the friction in U.S. history as much as Columbus Day, which was intended to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in what is now called the Americas in 1492. For more than a century, the holiday has been championed by Italian-Americans as showcasing their many contributions to the U.S.

PEW RESEARCH MAPS THE DIVIDE

NEW LAST YEAR, Pew Research published an in-depth look at the varying approaches to this annual milestone across the U.S. NOTE: This still is a fascinating resource, even though much continues to change in 2020.

The Pew report begins: “Depending on where you live and whom you work for, Columbus Day may be a paid day off, another holiday entirely, or no different from any regular Monday. Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, is one of the most inconsistently celebrated U.S. holidays. It’s one of 10 official federal holidays, which means federal workers get a paid day off. And because federal offices will be closed, so will most banks and the bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt (though the stock markets will remain open). Beyond that, it’s a grab bag.”

Here is a link to the entire Pew report—with accompanying maps so you can see how your part of the U.S. compares with others.

Labor Day: Americans celebrate, but Labor Day is about far more than picnics

Lewis Hine child laborers in 1908 at Catawba Cotton Mill. Newton, N.C.

REMEMBERING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT: Sociologist Lewis Hine took this photo in 1908, showing some of the doffers with their superintendent. A doffer tended the spindles on the machine, removing full ones and replacing them with empty spools; ten small boys and girls about this age would be employed in a force of 40 employees. Catawba Cotton Mill. Newton, N.C.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7: Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and small festive gatherings are expected nationwide—even though the bigger parades, fireworks shows and jam-packed picnic grounds at parks will be missed this year.

REMEMBER: CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS IN YOUR AREA

News reports about closings (and some local adaptations) have been trickling in from across the U.S. throughout August. Closer to Labor Day, check out resources like the PBS network listings and Amazon and Netflix streaming services for at-home streaming films and documentaries related to the observance.

The relentless spread of COVID-19 has changed plans in tiny towns and sprawling cities. Even in Texas, where public sentiment often has pushed back on pandemic limitations, the public parks around San Antonio will be closed throughout the entire weekend. Other Texas communities are expected to follow suit.

Similar news of park closings is popping up  coast to coast. Some communities plan to continue fireworks shows, especially if the emphasis is on “drive in” attendance by families. Most fireworks shows are being cancelled. Yet another example from the West: Omaha cancelled not only Labor Day events but its entire schedule for the city’s upcoming Septemberfest. From the Midwest: In Duluth, city officials announced that their regular contractor for fireworks agreed to let the cash-strapped city cancel the fiery celebration with no cancellation cost, which softened the blow a bit for city residents.

Got extra time? Learn the history …

This year, in particular, educators, labor leaders and historians are urging Americans to use their extra time to look back at the history and relevance of labor in the lives of American workers.

Our opening photo, above, is one of many preserved by sociologist Lewis Hines. Consider creating your own Labor Day-themed media. You could share a message with friends on social media—or perhaps put together a discussion for your small group or class.  Wikimedia Commons provides many of Hine’s classic images that you are free to use.)

Labor Day is the result of the long struggle for recognition of workers’ rights by the American labor movement. The first Labor Day celebration, observed in 1882 in New York City, attracted more than 10,000 workers who marched through the streets. Beyond recognizing the social and economic achievements of American workers, Labor Day makes us aware of the countless workers who have, together, contributed to the strength and prosperity of their country.

John Wesley open air preaching

John Wesley drew the fury of many critics for preaching in public places, wherever crowds of working people and their families could gather to hear him.

LABOR AND FAITH

The value of human labor is echoed throughout the Abrahamic tradition, including stories and wisdom about the nature of labor in both the Bible and the Quran. Biblical passages ask God to “prosper the work of our hands” (Psalm 90), while the Quran refers to the morality of conducting oneself in the public square.

The Catholic church has been preaching on behalf of workers for more than a century. The landmark papal encyclical Rerum Novarum (“Of revolutionary change”) was published in 1891 and has been described as a primer on the rights of laborers who face abusive conditions in the workplace. This became one of the central themes of Pope John Paul II’s long pontificate. In 1981, he published his own lengthy encyclical, Laborem Exercens (“On human work”). Then, a decade later, John Paul returned to this milestone in Catholic teaching in Centisimus Annus (“Hundredth year”).

For 2019, the United Methodist Church published a nationwide appeal to church leaders to remember the central issues still faced by workers around the world. Titled “Labor Day Is Not Just a Day Off,” the text says in part:

Did you know The United Methodist Church has been a part of the labor movement throughout history and is committed to fairness and justice in the workplace? In the early 20th century the church was working to end child labor. And in the ’50s, during our country’s civil rights movement, we were fighting for fair wages and better working conditions. We were dedicated to fairness and justice in the workplace then, and we still are today.

When John Wesley founded the Methodist movement during the 18th century, there was no “worker movement” the way we’d understand it today. But Wesley preached to and cared for coal miners and other oppressed workers. He also opposed slavery. After Wesley died, his followers continued to work against workplace injustices in rapidly industrializing England, adopting the first Social Creed, in 1908, that dealt exclusively with labor practices.

Child laborers in a mine by Lewis Hine 1908.

It may be hard to tell at first glance, but these miners also were child laborers documented by Lewis Hine in 1908.

FROM 12-HOUR DAYS AND DANGEROUS CONDITIONS TO UNIONS

At the end of the 19th century, many Americans had to work 12-hour days every day of the week to make a living. Child labor was at its height in mills, factories and mines, and young children earned only a portion of an adult’s wage. Dirty air, unsafe working conditions and low wages made labor in many cities a dangerous occupation. As working conditions worsened, workers came together and began forming labor unions: through unions, workers could have a voice by participating in strikes and rallies. Through unions, Americans fought against child labor and for the eight-hour workday.

Some labor demonstrations turned violent—such as the Haymarket Riot of 1886, which is remembered, to this day, in May 1 labor holidays around the world. Instead of a May holiday, however, American leaders preferred to remove “our” holiday from that tragedy by four months, in the civic calendar. Instead, American holiday planners encouraged street parades and public displays of the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations in each community—including cheerful festivities and recreation for workers and their families.

Oregon became the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday, in 1887, and by 1896, Labor Day was a national holiday.

Independence Day: Americans celebrate with backyard parties & fireworks

FIREWORKS have not been permitted at Mount Rushmore for more than a decade.

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SATURDAY, JULY 4: Barbecues are firing up and backyard celebrations will be plentiful this Fourth of July, as many events turn private from public. While most patriotic parades and festivals are cancelled this year, that doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t holding festivities: In fact, residential fireworks sales are “sky-high” this year, as the number of at-home celebrations soars. Since some 2020 pandemic restrictions remain and many public fireworks displays are cancelled, most families are opting for a smaller-scale display instead.

Shooting off your own fireworks this year? Get safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

What’s happening at Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which is sometimes called “The Shrine of Democracy,” celebrates Independence Day on both July 3 and 4. For 2020, programming and plans for both days are still being developed, but there will be a fireworks display the evening of July 3. The Memorial will reopen to the general public on July 4. For more details, visit the website.

The National Park Service has not held a fireworks show in more than a decade due to fire concerns—but President Trump pushed the idea this year, because of his long-standing love of the historic site and his claim that he hopes, one day, to see his own face carved on the mountainside. Meanwhile, Native American groups strongly oppose the event—and public safety experts are warning about the potential of COVID-spread and wildfires. Associated Press reports further.

As The Washington Post reports: “President Trump is planning a massive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, despite a decade-long ban on pyrotechnics at the iconic spot because of concerns about public health, environmental and safety risks. Trump has wanted to stage fireworks at the national memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills since 2018.”

JULY 2 and JULY 4

With the fledgling battles of the Revolutionary War in April 1775, few colonists considered complete independence from Great Britain. Within a year, however, hostilities toward Great Britain were building and the desire for independence was growing, too. Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet, “Common Sense,” fueled the unifying aspiration for independence. Though the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain took place on July 2, 1776, it was two days later—July 4—when the Second Continental Congress gave its approval.

July 4th colonial

The Fourth of July in Philadelphia, 1819. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A COMMITTEE AND A DECLARATION DRAFT

 

The year was 1776, and the weather was stifling hot as a brand-new nation was being formed. In June of that year, the Continental Congress appointed a five-person committee to draft a formal statement that would vindicate the break with Great Britain: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, considered the most articulate writer in the group, crafted the original draft. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress officially declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain; a total of 86 changes were made to the draft before its final adoption on July 4, by the Second Continental Congress.

One year following, in 1777, Philadelphia marked the Fourth of July with an official dinner, toasts, 13-gun salutes, music, parades, prayers and speeches. As the new nation faced challenges, however, celebrations fell out of favor during ensuing decades. It wasn’t until after the War of 1812 that printed copies of the Declaration of Independence again were widely circulated, and festivities marked America’s Independence Day.

Fast fact: Congress declared July 4 a national holiday in 1870.

SALUTE TO AMERICA: FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

A salute of one gun for each U.S. states is fired on July 4 at noon by any capable military base, and in the evening, A Capitol Fourth—a free concert broadcast live by PBS, NPR and the American Forces Network—takes place on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. The White House has announced that President Trump plans to host an Independence Day celebration again this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, with military demonstrations, fireworks and a speech. (Read more in the Washington Post.)

Fourth of July treat

Photo courtesy of Piqsels

JULY 4 RECIPES, PARTY TIPS, DIY & MOVIES

Get out those red, white and blue decorations and recipes!

From the perfect grilled steak to a fresh-fruit patriotic cake, find recipes from Martha Stewart, AllRecipes, Food Network, Food & Wine, Rachael Ray and Real Simple.

For party and decor tips, check out HGTV’s easy entertaining ideas, Americana style suggestions and backyard party tips. Reader’s Digest offers 21 fun party games fit for any celebration of the Fourth.

Kids can craft decorations or their own apparel with help from Parents.com and Disney.com.

Interested in a lineup of patriotic movies? Forbes and Boston.com offer a top-10 list of movies, including “Red Dawn,” “Johnny Tremain,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “1776.”

Father’s Day: Bring joy to Dad, Grandpa and more

Father's Day

Photo courtesy of Pikist

SUNDAY, JUNE 21: Make dinner on the grill, put together a gift for Dad and take a minute to say “Thanks:” It’s Father’s Day! Across the United States, more than 70 million fathers qualify for recognition on this special day.

2020 UPDATE: While many states are slowly reopening retail stores and other public places, social distancing is still highly recommended and enforced. Looking for ideas to celebrate? Check out 10 ways to observe Father’s Day in quarantine, here. Searching for ways to mark a virtual Father’s Day? Find several ways, in this article from Woman’s Day. Forbes states that “masks are the new ties”—at least, according to this article. Finally, from Health.com, there are 15 best gifts that Dad can use during quarantine.

ST. JOSEPH AND SONORA SMART DODD: A FATHER’S DAY

The official holiday has been in effect for nearly half a century in the United States, although similar celebrations have been in existence around the globe for much longer. In traditionally Catholic countries, fathers are popularly recognized on the Feast of St. Joseph.

Did you know? Fortune magazine reports that Americans’ focus on Father’s Day has been growing in popularity over the last decade, at least as analysts judge the amount American families spend on Father’s Day gifts. That figure has grown 70 percent, or $6.6 billion, over the last decade, according to Katherine Cullen, senior director of Consumer and Industry Insights at the National Retail Federation.

The American Father’s Day began in Spokane, Washington, in 1910, with the daughter of a widow. When Sonora Smart Dodd heard a Mother’s Day sermon in church, she approached her pastor, believing that fathers like hers—a Civil War veteran and single father who had raised six children—deserved recognition, too.

Hand hold

Photo courtesy of Pickpik

Following the initial few years, Father’s Day was all but lost until Dodd returned to Spokane, once again promoting her holiday. Despite support by trade groups and the Father’s Day Council, Father’s Day was rejected by both the general public and Congress until 1966. President Richard Nixon signed the holiday into law in 1972.

CELEBRATE: GRILLING, MOVIES & MORE

Stumped on how to celebrate Dad today? Look no further! We’ve rounded up plenty of ideas to please dads of any age:

Cooking dinner for Dad? Whether you’re taking food to the grill or to the oven, get inspired with recipes from Food Network, Martha Stewart and AllRecipes.

From the Silver Screen: Take to the air conditioning with popcorn and a dad-centered flick. Our favorite list is from Screen Rant, which recognizes fathers from Darth Vader to Bryan Mills in “Taken.”

From the Kids: Young children can craft gifts, cards and more with ideas from here.

Juneteenth: Celebrations, changes and concerns nationwide

Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas, on June 19, 1900.

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FRI, JUNE 19: Most summers, Juneteenth is defined by prayer services, gospel concerts and barbecues nationwide to celebrate the oldest known commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States: Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day.

BIG CHANGES THIS YEAR

In 2020, be sure to check schedules early for local celebrations. Many towns have cancelled this year’s events. Many are hosting Juneteenth events on dates other than June 19. Some communities are proposing virtual observances this year.

On June 5, the Chicago Defender published this report on ways to mark Juneteenth, including ideas that don’t involve public gatherings.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram looked back at the event’s long history in Texas.

JUNETEENTH ORIGINS

President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, followed by the end of the Civil War IN 1865—but white Texans remained resistant to freeing slaves. Due to the minimal number of Union troops present in Texas, slavery continued in the state until June 18, 1865—the day General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops marched into Galveston and took possession of the state. The following day, General Granger read General Order No. 3 before a crowd including elated former slaves. Formal celebrations for “Juneteenth” began almost immediately.

Did you know? The term “Juneteenth,” grammatically a portmanteau of the word “June” and the suffix of “Nineteenth,” was coined in 1903.

Just one year following General Granger’s reading of General Order No. 3, freed former slaves had gathered enough money to purchase land for Juneteenth gatherings and celebrations. Church grounds were also popular for gatherings. Emancipation Park in Houston and Austin are examples of remaining properties purchased by former slaves. (Learn more history from Juneteenth.com.) In its early years, Juneteenth was a time for family members—some who had fled to the North and others who had traveled to other states—to reunite with relatives who stayed behind in the South. Prayer services have long played a major part in the celebrations.

Hosting a barbecue or other Juneteenth celebration? Find recipe ideas at Multi Cultural Cooking Network and NPR.