We’re glad you’re spending a part of the Juneteenth holiday with us.

It was today in 1865 when Union troops came to Galveston, Texas to announce that with the ending of the Civil War, the institution of slavery was over too.

Suffice to say it hasn’t always been smooth sailing since then, but Juneteenth has remained a day in which we can celebrate the ending of enslavement and the new beginning it represents.

Like so many holidays, there are lots of traditions that come with Juneteenth, like the foods and drinks that end up on the table at Juneteenth parties.

A lot of these refreshments include the color red, and that’s on purpose.

It represents the blood that was shed by Black people in America, even in the several years’ time between when slavery officially ended and when the enslaved people of Galveston found out about it.

The red foods include barbecue, sausages, fruit and red velvet cake.

There’s also a bean salad named for Marcus Garvey, who led a mass movement for Black civil rights decades before Martin Luther King Jr.

And there’s red drink, though it’s important to note that there are lots of different versions of red drink.

Some people keep it straightforward and serve red Kool-Aid, red soda or lemonade mixed with strawberry or cherry juice.

At other tables, the red drink is brewed like a tea, or mixed like a punch.

The recipes began in West Africa, often with hibiscus flowers and cola nuts.

When Black people were enslaved and brought to the Caribbean and then to North America, they adapted the classic drink recipes using native plants and spices.

In the US, red drink makers might use berries or cherries instead of hibiscus.

There are many varieties, but as food historians note, all of these recipes speak to the perseverance of Black people.

They used their determination and creativity to keep growing and celebrating their culture even when the world around them was hostile to that culture.

So if you head to a Juneteenth celebration today, take note of all that red.

A lot of thought went into it!

Back in 2022, confectionary marvel Amaury Guichon wanted to celebrate becoming a US citizen.

So he made a chocolate Statue of Liberty that was seven feet tall, 115 pounds!

My Juneteenth Table (The Spruce Eats)

A Brief History of Red Drink (Smithsonian)

Statue of Liberty modeled in chocolate (Langweile Dichnet)

Photo by Anthony Crider via Flickr/Creative Commons