Juneteenth National Independence Day was launched to celebrate the end of slavery in the U.S.—but not all citizens will enjoy a day off to mark the occasion.

America’s newest federal holiday, named after a contraction of the date “June Nineteenth,” commemorates the events of June 19 in 1865. On that day, some 250,000 still-enslaved African Americans were told that the Civil War had ended and that they had been declared free by law.

The day has been marked ever since in Galveston, Texas, where Union soldiers arrived to free the remaining slaves, and Texas made Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980. Other parts of the U.S. also began marking the occasion, and just days before the 2021 celebration, on June 16, Congress made June 19 a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the holiday into law on June 17.

But Americans will have different experiences of the occasion depending on where they live and whether their bosses will give them the day off.

Juneteenth at White House
Attendees raise their phones as rapper Doug E. Fresh performs during an early Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House on June 10, 2024. Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. KENT NISHIMURA/GETTY IMAGES
“I was proud to sign bipartisan legislation establishing Juneteenth as our newest Federal holiday, so that all Americans can feel the power of this day, learn from our history, celebrate our progress, and recognize and engage in the work that continues,” Biden said, as he made the event official back in 2021.

Nationwide numbers are still being crunched for this year’s event. In 2023, more than half of the U.S. states recognized Juneteenth as an official public holiday, according to the Pew Research Center.

Some 28 states and the District of Columbia made the date a public holiday, analysts revealed. State workers were given the day off with full pay and state government offices were closed in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Just 19 states had no official provision for Juneteenth last year, the analysts said, meaning there was no federal holiday in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

A further three states—California, Pennsylvania and North Carolina—had some level of official recognition, according to the Pew Research Centre. California allowed state employees to take Juneteenth off work in lieu of a personal holiday. While Pennsylvania allows certain employees to have the day off as an “official annual observance.” North Carolina views the event as a “floating holiday” that some employees will be given off.

Other caveats can exist too. For example, in Illinois, state workers will only receive a paid holiday for Juneteenth if that date falls on a weekday.

Some critics have been sceptical about the holiday, suggesting it does not signify real change in the U.S.

Others have criticized companies for trying to cash-in on the holiday.

Walmart was slammed in 2022 when shoppers accused the retailer of trying to trademark the word “Juneteenth” with sales of themed merchandise. Journalist Chris Lovingood shared a photo of the store’s “Celebration Edition Juneteenth Ice Cream,” which appeared to have a trademark logo by the word Juneteeth.

Americans are celebrating Juneteenth today. An early celebration was held at the White House this week, although the event was overshadowed when Biden appeared to freeze as others danced around him.

Meanwhile, the city of Hamilton in Ohio has canceled its planned event, with organizers blaming “unforeseen complications.” Newsweek reached out to the committee in charge seeking further information.