I’ve gathered some materials about “Watch Night” that I’m adding to The Best Sites For Learning About New Year Celebrations.

Watch Night is particularly celebrated in African-American churches and commemorates when many African-Americans gathered to pray that President Abraham Lincoln would carry out his promise to sign the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

Here are two newspaper articles that give more background on the midnight prayer services (you probably have to modify portions to make them more accessible to English Language Learners), and a slideshow from the New York Times.