WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

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WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Naturally Esq on 18th December 2010, 7:24 pm

WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

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 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 out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church. 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 communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on 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 prayers, shouts 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 145 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."

PS- Pass this information on so we can educate more of our Family and Friends about our History!


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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by natural83 on 18th December 2010, 9:19 pm

Oh wow, this is interesting! Great information that I can honestly say I didn't know! Thanks for posting!
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Myeka33 on 19th December 2010, 10:35 am

I didn't know either....thanks so much!
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by 1FlySista on 19th December 2010, 1:00 pm

Very interesting to say the least. If you don't mind, where did you acquire this information from? Do you have a link to share to a credible source? I would like to read more up on the origin of this tradition.
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Naturally Esq on 19th December 2010, 1:54 pm

Here is the link to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/us/31watchnight.html
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Naturally Esq on 27th December 2010, 2:26 pm

Bump
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Naturally Esq on 29th December 2010, 11:06 pm

The last bump
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by DvaAuNaturel on 30th December 2010, 12:05 pm

Thanks for sharing this. Only knew a piece but not the entire story. Very interesting. My grandfather had a tradition that I follow. He said my great grandmother would always get on her knees at the stroke of midnight to give thanks. Never understood as a kid but have learned to understand and appreciate it over the years.
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Naturally Esq on 30th December 2010, 5:29 pm

DvaAuNaturel wrote:Thanks for sharing this. Only knew a piece but not the entire story. Very interesting. My grandfather had a tradition that I follow. He said my great grandmother would always get on her knees at the stroke of midnight to give thanks. Never understood as a kid but have learned to understand and appreciate it over the years.

Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad that you and everyone appreciated my posting.
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Mandi'sGoneCurly! on 30th December 2010, 5:39 pm

Very very interesting. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by Guest on 31st December 2010, 5:56 pm

this was interesting...i never heard of this though, but it makes sense~ Suspect

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Re: WATCH NIGHT SERVICES

Post by AfricanaCurly on 2nd January 2011, 6:19 pm

Interesting post, also being of African heritage (West African) we also grew up going to watch night services and it's something that still happens here in the US/Canada and also in West Africa. So if you ask a lot of West African's what they do for new year's eve a lot will say they went to church and then those who wish to party after words do so.

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