AfriGeneas Writers Forum
Slavery's End Tradition
WATCH NIGHT SERVICE
Many of you who live or grew up in African-American communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve. The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.
Some folks come to church first, before going to out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event they attend. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious
Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs. In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.
However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African-American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black
Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year. It's
Praise God and give thanks for this remaining bond that even today connects us to our ancestors!
Peace, Grace, Favor and Faith, Alta
"God grant us thy mercy and thy blessing while we remain humbly mindful of those who have not. Let everything that draws breath stand in awe of Him."