By CBS3 Staff

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CBS) — Saturday is Juneteenth and it’s now a federal holiday. The holiday marks the end of slavery and celebrations are already underway across the region.

Just about every holiday has its traditions, but the great thing about Juneteenth is that you can celebrate how you please as long as you keep the holiday’s meaning in mind.

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In 1865, it was a day of liberation. This weekend, it’s a celebration.

Tony Benson says he’s been celebrating June 19 for decades.

“Actually, I started celebrating it when I was in elementary in kindergarten,” Benson said.

Now he’s passing that on, helping kids recognize Juneteenth at the YMCA in Northeast Philadelphia for the first time.

The event was organized by the nonprofit Protecting Our Parks. The main show, the Sixers Stixers.

“Today, we celebrate Juneteenth,” 9-year-old Dizon Jackson said.

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This 9-year-old is not alone in celebrating this holiday a little early.

Over in Mount Holly, New Jersey, students with the Black Student Union at Rancocas Valley High School hosted an afternoon of games, music, food and more.

“It was really important to me because growing up in a predominantly white society and a predominately white neighborhood, I didn’t really have the representation that I needed,” Jya Marshall said.

Now a federally recognized holiday, even more reason to commemorate with pride.

“It’s giving me a lot of hope and faith for the country that we’re moving forward,” Marshall said.

There are more events planned all throughout the weekend. Click here to see some of them.

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CBS3’s Jasmine Payoute reports.