Some people may know it as "Watch Night Service" it was formerly known as "Freedom's Eve" in the African American community in America. Blacks were celebrating freedom from slavery as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 1962 on that night in particular African Americans came together in fellowship in churches and homes anxiously awaiting the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had actually became law. When the actual news of freedom was received African Americans felt as though their prayers were answered, they celebrated with shouts and songs about how they got over they fell to their knees and thanked God.
This tradition began before 1862 African Americans gathered on New Year's Eve on plantations across the South this occurred because many slave owners of enslaved Africans tallied up their business accounts on December 31 might be the last time for enslaved and free Africans to be together with loved ones and friends since they could be sold and separated at any given time. The initial purpose of this tradition was to praise God for bringing us safely through another year and praying for the future.
Toni's Thoughts: I never understood when I was a kid why we had to attend church on that night but learning this piece of information touches my heart. Although I cannot take credit for this I will provide my source.
Source: Black Star Journal
Author: Charyn D. Sutton