Tomorrow, Monday, May 28, 2012, is Memorial Day. This weekend is referred to as Memorial Day Weekend. Most people today still don't know that Memorial Day was started by Southern black people. It was originally called Decoration Day and it occurred circa May 1st or May Day. It was a time when black people honored those black and white men who had died during the Civil War. With time the holiday would evolve to officially honor all those souls who gave their lives in order to protect the nation or those who served in the military. Most people today honor all of their dead and not just those who served in the military.
Memorial Day is a major holiday in the South. It is a time of celebrating the memory of the ancestors as well as a celebration of family and life. Memorial Day is also viewed as the unofficial start of Summer. Typical holiday celebrations center around visits to cemeteries where graves of loved ones are cleaned and offerings of flowers and flags are given. Many families hold picnics at the graves of their loved ones and this custom has evolved to where the cemetery itself may hold a barbecue for the families of all who have loved ones buried at the cemetery. Later on, family get-togethers are held. Activities like swimming and sports, and the shooting/watching of fireworks may occur. It is not uncommon for some families to visit local lakes or rivers for relaxment and entertainment. For my family at least, Memorial Day, save for Independence Day, is the one day of the year where we all eat homemade ice cream. The eating of watermelon, the fruit of the Summer, is also popular.
As you celebrate Memorial Day take time to honor those who gave their lives protecting our freedoms and our nation as well as honor the ancestors who have gone before us.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!