Friday, June 20, 2014

Midsummer Night / Summer solstice / Juneteenth

Tonight is Midsummer Eve, when all the fairy folk flit about and play pranks. It's also the summer solstice weekend. In what fashion will you mark it, mayhap with bonfire or feast? The longest day of the year, it's a big deal annually at Stonehenge, where people descend en masse to watch the sunrise, many of them in emulation of the ancient Druids.
This weekend is also set aside in many communities for activities relating to "Juneteenth"—the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, it marks the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas in 1865, and more generally that of African-Americans throughout the country. Celebrated on or about June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth. It is honored where I live with African drumming, food, readings from African American writers (a tribute to Maya Angelou is definitely on the agenda this year), re-enactments, exhibits, dance, music, and more.
History buffs: click here for our "Spotlight" collection on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

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