June Holidays

June is another one of those summer months soft on holidays. Perhaps the dearth of holidays during the summer is due to the fact that so many celebrants are on the road to vacation. While certain holidays certainly become reasons in themselves to hit the road, it probably should only be expected that there really doesn’t need to be many special days of observance to justify traveling during the height of vacation season.

Flag Day: June 14.

June 14 was set aside as Flag Day because it commemorates that day as the date on which the flag was officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Flag Day was first observed one-hundred years after that monumental decision, although it would not be until 1949 that Pres. Truman signed the bill into law authorizing Flag Day as an official day of observance.

As for the actual traditions of observing Flag Day, it essentially comes down to flying the stars and stripes. Until recent decades, Flag Day would be quite obvious to anyone walking down any street in America in the middle of June. In addition to flags waving in the wind high atop flag poles at government offices, banks and schools, nearly house in the country would display a flag from their roof or at least a miniature flag on a wooden stuck poking into their front yard. June 14 today rarely looks unlike May 14 or July 14, however, as the tradition has gone out of the day holiday.

Nevertheless, Flag Day is still observed on a municipal level in many cities, with well-attended parades and ceremonies. The most celebrated Flag Day parade takes place in Troy, New York, often attended by over 50,000 residents and tourists.

Father’s Day: Third Sunday in June.

Hard as it may be to believe, Father’s Day has only been officially established since 1972. Efforts to create a paternal holiday analogous began in Spokane, Washington courtesy of Sonora Dodd. Mrs. Dodd came home from a Mother’s Day observance with a newfound determination to establish a day to honor Dad. Very quickly interest in adopting Dodd’s idea was seized by a number of influential Americans.

Father’s Day took quite some time to become established nationwide, however. Several attempts at Congressional proclamations failed, causing Pres. Calvin Coolidge to urge states to observe Father’s Day on their own. Since the official adoption in 1972 Father’s Day has gone on to become one of the most popular holidays in the country, at least among the greeting card industry. The number of greeting cards sent on Father’s Day is behind only Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.

Juneteenth: June 19.

Juneteenth gets its unique name from the combination of the month and day in which it is celebrated. Despite being celebrated for far longer than such other more popular holidays like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Juneteenth remains a mystery to the vast majority of Americans.

Perhaps that is because Juneteenth is seen as a June holiday for a quite specific segment of America. Juneteenth is also known as either Emancipation Day or Freedom Day because it commemorates the abolition of slavery. Another reason why Juneteenth is not as well known as it should be is because for most of its existence it primarily celebrated in the state in which it was founded.

Juneteenth began life in Galveston, Texas to celebrate the official announcement of the emancipation slaves some six months after Pres. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation actually went into effect. The celebration and observance of this holiday was practically confined to Texas for next few decades before slowly spreading across the country. In the intervening decades, Juneteenth has managed to grow in stature and recognition. One of America’s finest novelists, Ralph Ellison, titled one of his books Juneteenth.

As part of the recognition of the culture of community that made slavery even the slightest bit bearable, the primary way of observing and celebrating Juneteenth is to position the value and vitality of communal sharing. As a result, the Juneteenth feast is perhaps the most recognizable feature, dominated by essential component of making the feast a potluck affair in which everybody brings a dish.