Another tradition that I actually grew up following, is to attend what is known as "Watch Night Service" at church. This is where people come together to give thanks for all the goodness that God has bestowed upon them over the past year. It is a time where attendees give their testimony, there's plenty of music, there's usually a sermon. To culminate the evening everyone would end up on their knees in prayer at midnight to bring in the New Year. Oftentimes these services would also move straight into a feast (breakfast) in the church social hall until everyone was tired and went home to bed.
On New Year's Day, I think Southern California holds the attention of America (as well as across the world) with all eyes on Pasadena, California, home of the Tournament of Roses Parade. This event started in 1890 and displays floats made of every kind of flower, grain, fruit and live materials imaginable, (It you've never seen a float in person, it is definitely a site to behold). Following the parade many spend the rest of the day watching and enjoying the Rose Bowl football game. This year the game will be between the University of Illinois and that other school, the University of Southern California (USC). Yes I am a BRUIN! But on this day I will be rooting for USC.
For many African Americans Kwanzaa also falls during this time. The sixth day of Kwanzaa (which falls on New Year's Eve), is Kuumba which means "Creativity." ...to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. ( Are we doing that?) The seventh and final day of Kwanzaa falls on New Year's Day and it is Imani, which means "Faith." ...to believe with all our heart, in our heart, in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. I would like to take the personal liberty of adding under the "Imani" step to not forget to add God to the mix who made all things possible.
So no matter what you will be doing to bring in the New Year and celebrate what's to come, make it an event that you share with those you love. Oh by the way, if you plan to serve black eyed peas, let me know so I can stop by and take a bite. You know a tradition in our community is to serve them, "eat peas on new year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year!"
Happy New Year, and God Bless!
Give your all in all that you do. Then the PLUS won't just be more, it will be the difference!