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Celebrating Juneteenth: A Time for Commemoration and Unity

At Euro Ceramica, we believe in bringing the world to our customers' tables with culturally-inspired designs. As part of our commitment to diversity and cultural appreciation, we are excited to delve into Juneteenth's rich history and traditions. Join us as we explore the significance of this holiday, debunk common misconceptions, savor delicious foods, and unite in celebration.

Honoring the Emancipation

Juneteenth is a long-neglected holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Its roots trace back to June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery–two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. As such, Juneteenth symbolizes freedom, resilience, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

Dispelling Misconceptions

As is typical for many American holidays, there are some common myths around Juneteenth that we’d like to point out:

Firstly, it's important to reiterate that the arrival of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 did not ultimately mark the liberation of all people held as slaves, just those within states of the Union. So Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of enslaved people in Texas following the Civil War and serves as a reminder that slavery legally persisted in other parts of the United States until the passage of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Secondly, Juneteenth isn’t necessarily a counter-holiday to the 4th of July. After all, the two holiday’s original events are nearly 90 years apart. One celebrates the formation of a new country, and one marks a significant milestone toward freedom for ALL in that country. As such, Juneteenth is a celebration of joy about the progress our country has seen and a reminder of our continued responsibility to work towards equity as a keystone value of the United States. 

Savoring Juneteenth Cuisine

The yummiest aspect of Juneteenth celebrations is the delectable array of traditional foods. These dishes hold cultural significance and embody the flavors of African American heritage and Black culture. Some classics include:

Barbecue Bliss

Juneteenth often features mouthwatering barbecued meats such as ribs, chicken, and brisket. It’s an excellent day to fire up the grill and indulge in the smoky protein goodness.

Red Symbolism

Red foods are prominent during Juneteenth as they symbolize resilience and the bloodshed of African Americans in the fight for freedom. Red velvet cake, red soda, and vibrant fruit salad featuring seasonally-available red fruits are often used to pay homage to this symbolism.

Soulful Delights

Juneteenth cuisine often includes soul food classics such as fried meats, collard greens, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese. These beloved dishes reflect the fusion of West African, African American, and Southern culinary traditions.

Sweet Confections

Of course, a Juneteenth feast isn’t complete without indulgent desserts like peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, or creamy banana pudding.

What about Fried Chicken and Watermelon?

It’s worth keeping in mind that foods like fried chicken and watermelon fit into the Juneteenth traditions because they have an empowering origin dating back to when newly-freed Black homemakers made a business out of selling home-cooked meals such as fried chicken, and farmers grew watermelon as a cash crop.

However, in response to these entrepreneurial efforts, white business owners developed entertainment-based stereotypes to disempower and drive business away from Black entrepreneurs by associating finger foods like fried chicken and watermelon as inferior and uncivilized (even though these were widely-loved foods by almost all Southerners). This served as a way to continue rejecting the personhood of the Black community following the emancipation of slavery.

So, if you incorporate these foods into your Juneteenth, educate your guests on the important story behind them to avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes. 

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

In the spirit of Juneteenth, and as a fellow minority-owned business, we invite you to support Black-owned businesses during this holiday and throughout the year. Visit the website Black Business Green Book to discover and buy from a wide range of Black-owned companies. By doing so, we can all do our parts to collectively contribute to the economic growth and empowerment of the Black community.

Sharing the Celebration

As we honor the significance of Juneteenth and come together to break bread, we also invite you to share this blog post with friends, family, and colleagues to foster dialogue and expand the celebration of Juneteenth across the nation.

Happy Juneteenth!

And if you’d like to read more about misunderstood American holidays, check out our Cinco de Mayo blog post here!

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