If you grew up anywhere in the African American diaspora you may have heard of ‘Watch Night’. I must admit that for years I really had no clue as to what this was other than the fact that it was held New Years Eve. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that this service was mainly recognized only in African American religious circles.
In the US ‘Watch Night’ apparently began on December 31, 1862, which is more commonly known as ‘Freedoms Eve.’ It was during this time that blacks anxiously awaited the word that the Emancipation Proclamation had been made into law.
Even earlier accounts of ‘Watch Night’ can be traced back to the Moravians, a small christian denominaton, who is believed to have celebrated such services as early as 1773.
Many years have passed since that first ‘Freedoms Eve’ Whatever the origins it’s nice to have some insight into such a deeply engrained tradition celebrated by African Americans throughout the country.
Houston Watch Night Services
Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
New Faith Church
Saint John’s Downtown
Power Source Christian Center
New Day Deliverance Holiness Church