Juneteenth, the federal holiday that commemorates the end of all slavery in the United States, will be celebrated on Wednesday, June 19, this year.

Though the holiday has been celebrated for years, it is fairly new to the list of federal holidays in the United States.

Keep reading for answers to commonly asked questions about the holiday.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. Before Juneteenth was used as the official title of the holiday, it was often referred to as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day and Black Independence Day.

Black Americans began to celebrate Juneteenth to mark the anniversary of June 19, 1865, the day when Texas – the last rebel state – officially abolished slavery. 

Why is it called Juneteenth?

Juneteenth combines the words June, (the month when it takes place) and the number 19, (the exact date). 

Before the name Juneteenth was used to title the day, other names used were Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day and Black Independence Day.

Is Juneteenth a U.S. federal holiday?

Yes. Juneteenth obtained federal holiday status during President Joe Biden’s first year in office. In June 2021, an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, with a vote tally of 415 to 14, passed legislation designating Juneteenth as a national holiday. Following the House’s decision, President Biden enacted the legislation the subsequent day.

When did Juneteenth become a U.S. federal holiday?

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in June 2021, during President Joe Biden’s first year in office. 

The date became a point of contention in 2020 when the Trump administration announced it would hold a major campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19. This announcement sparked outrage from Trump’s critics about the date and location.

In 1921, Tulsa was the site of a massacre of Black residents and the destruction of Black-owned businesses. Soon after, Trump moved the date of his rally to June 20 “out of respect”. 

Why do people eat red food on Juneteenth?

According to Oldways Cultural Food Traditions, the color represents the resilience of African Americans throughout their journey to freedom.

Red foods like red velvet cake, hibiscus tea and strawberry soda are common culinary items eaten on Juneteenth. Additionally, red fruits like strawberries and watermelon are eaten during the holiday because they are in peak season during Juneteenth.

Is there a Juneteenth flag?

Yes. Created by Ben Haith in 1997, the Juneteenth flag symbolizes freedom for Black Americans and African Americans. The flag’s red, white and blue colors were chosen on purpose to showcase that African Americans were always American, even through enslavement, according to Parade.com.

People carry a Juneteenth flag as they march during a Juneteenth re-enactment celebration in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 2021.(Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)

What does the zigzag shape around the star on the Juneteenth flag mean?

According to Parade, the five-point star in the center of the Juneteenth flag is a callback to the U.S. flag, representing that Black people are free in all 50 states.

The zigzag-shaped outline burst around the star represents the new horizon and a new promise for Black Americans.

What is closed on Juneteenth?

Mail Delivery

Wednesday, June 19 has been declared a day off for post offices, resulting in the suspension of deliveries by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for the day.


The Federal Reserve is observing Juneteenth on Wednesday, which means most banks will be closed.

While banks are not mandated to shut down for federal holidays, it is common for numerous branches to do so. Check your local branch before visiting.

Government offices

All federal offices and schools will be closed on Juneteenth. However, at the state government level, some may still be open.


Similar to other significant summer celebrations, individual retail stores have the discretion to operate, adjust their opening times or remain closed on Juneteenth. It’s recommended to confirm the hours of operation for your planned location before going on Wednesday.

In previous years, several large corporations, including Target, Twitter, and Nike, have granted their staff a paid day off to observe Juneteenth.


Seattle bikini barista responds to customer’s threats by smashing windshield

Deadly overnight shooting in South Seattle under investigation

‘Belltown Hellcat’ refuses to cooperate with Seattle officers at inspection

Woman wanted in deadly Tacoma shooting appears in court, bail set at $750k

To get the best local news, weather and sports in Seattle for free, sign up for the daily FOX 13 Seattle newsletter.

The Associated Press and FOX News Digital contributed to this report.