Friday, December 31, 2010



( New Year's Eve)

Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in churches 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 out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event. Like many others, I always assumed Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious celebration, but my grandmother said no there more to story, enjoy the whole story of watch night as told by my grandmother.

December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve." On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were praying and shouting and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. 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 been 141 years since that first freedom's eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of watch night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to Celebrate "HOW WE GOT OVER".

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