December 31st, to see the Old Year out and the New Year in by a religious service. John Wesley grafted it on the religious system, but it has been followed by most Christian communities.
“Southey in his biography of the evangelist (Wesley) denounces watch-night as another of Wesley's objectionable institutions.” —Nottingham Guardian, January 1, 1895, p. 5.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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