Spring is a season of renewal and celebration. These times embody transformation; A time to recognize where we come from and where we are going. Culture is our foundation; it teaches us the basis of who we are. We recognize culture through our experiences with one another. Many celebrations occur throughout the African diaspora in the spring. The spring season is the time to rejoice in all of our achievements and honor our culture. From music to food to art, you can find an abundance of festivities that honor the past and invite ideas of unity and collaboration.
Carnival is a festive season that is celebrated in many parts of the world, including countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. Carnival is a festival that celebrates freedom and emancipation from slavery. It is a time of music, dancing, and colorful costumes, and is often marked by parades and street parties. In some countries, like Trinidad and Tobago where carnival originated, Carnival is celebrated in the spring. All over the African diaspora carnival is celebrated in correlation to those countries’ Emancipation Day.
Much like Carnival Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated in the United States that commemorates the end of slavery. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th, right on the cusp of spring and summer. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was established January 1st 1864 it wasn’t until Union soldiers made it to Texas on June 19th to declare the end of the civil war. Texas was the final state to recognize the establishment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is a time to celebrate achievements and honor lineage. During this time people recognize African American leaders who inspire us to make change and progress as a community. Celebrations often include parades, picnics, and festivals that showcase black culture and history.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, also known as Jazz Fest, is an annual music festival held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It started in April of 1970 spontaneously, much like jazz, at the Louisiana Heritage Fair when George Wein encouraged Mahalia Jackson to sing along with the parade. The festival celebrates the city’s rich musical heritage, including jazz, blues, gospel, and other genres of music with roots in the African American community. Jazz Fest is a major cultural event that draws music lovers from around the world.
Spring ignites and inspires us. From Carnival to Juneteenth, there are many events and festivals that offer a chance to honor and showcase black culture and traditions. These events bring people together to celebrate, learn, and share in the diversity and richness of black cultures. Through our shared cultural experience, we can reflect on what brings us together, unite through celebration, and collaborate on the real motivation behind change.