Juneteenth (also known as June 19th) is an important day in American history, but some people likely still don’t know what is so special about this particular date on the calendar, why it is celebrated around the country—or why it even matters.

While for some, Wednesday, June 19 is just another day of work and usual day-to-day responsibilities, those are direct descendants of former slaves hold it in higher regard. The day’s significance is actually that it is the oldest known celebration to commemorate the official end of slavery in the United States. According to Juneteenth.com, June 19, 1865, was the date that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas and brought the news that the Civil War was officially over and those were previously enslaved were now free men and women.

What is Juneteenth and why do we celebrate it? Pictured: A Juneteenth celebration on June 19, 2004 in Richmond, California.  David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The celebration is important because the official end of slavery did come about directly after President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation, which had become law two and half years prior on January 1, 1863- but because there weren’t many Union troops in the Texas area, the law wasn’t executed as strongly as it should have been, meaning slaves were still held.

“The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order,” the website states. “However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865 and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.”

The reasons for the delay in news since President Lincoln’s order has never been truly determined either, which adds to the significance of the holiday for those who were kept in those conditions for the additional period of time.

Of course, even though slavery has since been out of practice for over 150 years, Juneteenth is still a day that many celebrate to make sure the relevance of it is never forgotten. As such, several events are scheduled both on the date itself and in the following weeks to take place around the United States.

Among some of the events taking place are:

  • The Dallas Juneteenth Festival: Taking place from 2-7 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, this free festival usually includes plenty of family-friendly entertainment, and this year will also feature the ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new MLK Fresh Food Distribution Center.
  • Juneteenth Celebration NYC: Taking place between 5-7 p.m. on June 19 at the Nautilus Playground in Brooklyn, this event, which is sponsored by NYC Parks, Alvin Ailey Extension, will feature music, dancing and community performances.
  • Juneteenth Rock Hill: This Event in Rock Hill, South Carolina, will begin on Friday, June 21, and will see celebrations continue on Saturday, June 22. Among the events taking place will be a Food Truck Friday concert as well as a Freedomfest and Talent Showcase.
  • The Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival: This celebration, scheduled for Saturday, June 22, features an “Honor Our Ancestors” breakfast prior to the parade and festival. The parade route will begin at 52nd and Jefferson Streets and end with a music festival at Malcolm X Park at 52nd and Pine Streets. The event holds additional significance this year, as a special ceremony will take place to officially rename 52nd Street in Philadelphia to Muhammed Ali Way.