On January 1, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary. Normally, this is a Holy Day of Obligation, but this year it is not.
What is the Solemnity of Mary, and why is it on New Year’s Day?
The Solemnity of Mary is the day we honor Mary as the Mother of Jesus. Jesus is one Person with two natures (in a “hypostatic“union). Therefore, Mary is “Theotokos,” Mother of God, and due the respect that accompanies that reality. Honoring Mary as Mother of God is the highest honor we can give her, celebrating her Divine Maternity. The declaration of this title can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431.
January 1 is the Octave of Christmas. Only Christmas and Easter still enjoy the privilege of an octave, which is an eight day extension of the feast. In 1968, Pope Paul VI also established January 1 as The World Day of Peace. Therefore, it is appropriate on this day to ask Mary, the Mother of Peace to bring us closer throughout the year, to her Divine Son, the Prince of Peace!