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Black Holiday NYE Traditions: The History Watch Night and How to Celebrate Virtually

Black Holiday NYE Traditions: The History Watch Night  and How to Celebrate Virtually

Never once would I have imagined not being able to physically attend Watch Night services in the presence of my own church family or with plenty of family and friends. With Covid-19 constantly changing the way in which we interact with one another Watch Night Services has become a concern of ours and the way we should celebrate this year. Despite being at a turning point in the way we conduct events, we are here to share a few ways to make your Watch Night service just as powerful, inspirational, and motivational from more than a six feet distance.

Watch Night services have been an impactful part of black church heritage. For so many Southern African Americans you grew up attending watch night services and for others it was a new way in which you wanted to bring in the new year. The watch night services in Black churches hold values and symbolizes more than just the New Year. It is said to be that on Dec 31. 1862 freed blacks gathered at churches or other safe spaces to kneel and pray for the other slave holding states to allow blacks freedom. This ritual later became a tradition for the African American community and this year we may have to alter our common ways. Therefore, below are a few ways in which you can celebrate the coming into the New Year. 

How to Celebrate Watch Night Virtually 

  1. Virtual Meeting Platforms 

A perfect way to create the family and church atmosphere is by using Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, Facetime or Microsoft Teams to plan the virtual Watch Night service. Get everyone involved. Ensure everyone has access to the site and prepare as if it was the night of the service. Work out technical kinks and bring in the New Year with your close ones.  

  1. Acknowledge Positive Highlights of the Year

Despite this year being taken over by the pandemic, there have been plenty positive achievements and moments that we should be thankful for; so highlight them! Shine light on graduating students in the virtual congregation and birthdays that we didn’t have a chance to celebrate. Of course provide the words in which we need to hear for the upcoming year and encourage strength.

  1. Plan Your Theme

Going into the New Year with a theme that is triggering, uplifting, and edgy is what we all need to hear. Pick a theme that fits accordingly and continue it throughout the virtual countdown. Apply real life scenarios and get the audience members involved. The more entertaining the theme is, the more impactful this virtual setting will be. 

  1.  Watch The Clock 

Entering the New Year is what the Watch Night Service leads to, so keep an eye on the clock. No one wants to miss the start of the New Year when attending the event to welcome them into the year. Set up a clock on the screen that all virtual attendees can see and prepare everyone for the countdown from 10 to 1. 

For the most part, these four tips on how to celebrate Watch Night service virtually is the ultimate way for your African American  church to celebrate this year. In order to stay safe and protect those that you love, the best ideal is to bring into the New Year by celebrating virtual. So prepare your computers and devices for a virtual countdown to the New Year! 

Jack Delano, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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