How did slaves spend the holidays? Are there any traditions which began back then still around today? When I moved South and attended some of the services held in the same places where my ancestors worshiped, I learned about homecomings, midnight watch services, and Christmas Eve celebrations.
Witnessing these special occasions has helped me envision my ancestors and feel of the spirit they had on these holidays. In my mind's eye, I have come to understand the importance they placed on being able to steal away to meet together to worship and fellowship.
This version of "Sweet Little Jesus Boy," by Charles Haugarbrooks is beautiful. It is very similar to African-American spirituals.
There exists still an essence of the faith, courage, and hope that they had as I observe and pay close attention to the lyrics and melodies and messages. You have to actually experience it to capture what I am trying to express. It is beautiful to be able to learn about the hymns and scriptures that helped them to withstand their hardships. Below are a couple of resources to help you understand ways slaves celebrated the holidays. I will be sharing others until Jan 1, 2011.