Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19. It is the oldest established celebration of the end of slavery in the United States and originated June 19, 1865, when union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news of the end of the Civil War and of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
According to the official Juneteenth website, the celebration was a time for mutual reassurance, praying and gathering with surviving family members to celebrate the coming freedom. The celebration has grown since the end of the Civil War and while many pieces of the celebration focus on outdoor activities like fishing, rodeos and barbecuing, the main focus of the day is self-reflection and improvement.
The most important thing to instill the importance of the day on young kids who don’t already know about the holiday is the significance of the day itself. Much of the significance behind the holiday comes from the fact the order that ended slavery in the union officially came down Jan. 1, 1863. Those 2.5-year difference represents the attitudes toward slaves in the south, and the effort to which people went to stop the spread of news.
“The observance of Juneteenth is about the journey and achievement of African Americans — from a horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of human endeavors. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will always be of historical and spiritual importance — as it serves us well to understand that together, we can overcome all obstacles in our path,” says a note on celebration from the official Juneteenth website.
To celebrate Juneteenth in the home, the website suggests a few different ways to celebrate as a family and community. Coming together as a family for a special meal and discussion is a good way to celebrate, especially if young kids are involved. This is an excellent way to drive home the importance and meaning of the holiday while encouraging healthy self-reflection techniques. Inviting friends and community members, especially kids’ friends, is a good way to spread the word and reflect on quotes and facts from history. These exchanges can add context to children understanding the day and encourage learning.
Dealing with a topic this delicate can be a challenge, especially when including kids, but education and understanding of such an important day is imperative for cultural understanding and history of the United States.
If your family travel brings you to the greater New York City region, opt for a taste of nostalgia (or the grown-ups and fun and imagination for the kids at American Dream’s Nickelodeon Universe. Since I don’t have children, I recruited my best friend and her 6-year-old twins, Declan and Delaney, to help me check out the Nickelodeon-themed theme park and all the ways it brings to life favorite characters from cartoons both past and present, like Rugrats!, which I watched as a child, and Spongebob Square Pants, which is more Declan’s speed.
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Blue Mountain Resort, located in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains, offers plenty of activities for family travel. This past weekend, Blue Mountain Bike Park officially opened for summer. The park offers Pennsylvania’s highest vertical and largest bike park where all mountain bikers, from beginners to experts, can navigate 29 thrilling bike trails.
Family travelers, there’s a new attraction coming to Saudi Arabia, as it prepares to welcome the country’s first and the region’s largest water theme park, currently under development at Qiddiya, the future Capital of Entertainment, Sports and Culture. Qiddiya will sit outside the capital of Riyadh. Falcon’s Creative Group is behind the park’s master plan.
United Airlines officially became the only major U.S. airline to own a flight training school with the opening of United Aviate Academy on Jan. 27. The moment was made even more historic with its inaugural class, which is 80 percent women and people of color.
The island of Lanzarote, in Spain’s Canary Islands, endured a series of devastating volcanic eruptions in the mid-1700s. More than half the island was covered in several feet of molten lava and ash before hardening into impenetrable stone. Vast areas of this stone still cover Lanzarote in an otherworldly landscape of solidified lava. But all Lanzarote’s volcanoes are not dead, and the most active of them is a good place to begin your family travel on Lanzarote.