Among the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary is observed on January 1 every year by the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. It is the eighth day of Christmastide and is a feast to celebrate Mary’s motherhood. It is also known as the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. This holy day sometimes gets forgotten easily amid the New Year celebrations but is one of utmost reverence for people of the Christian faith.
History of Solemnity of Mary
The Catholic Church observes many important feasts during the Twelve Days of Christmas. This includes the feasts of Saint Stephen, Saint John the Apostle, the Holy Innocents, and the Holy Family. However, none of these feasts are as important as the one observed on the eighth day of Christmas — the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
In the early centuries, Christmas was originally celebrated on January 6, along with the Feast of the Epiphany. After Christmas started to be celebrated with its own day and feast on December 25, the octave or eighth day of Christmas took on a new meaning. Celebrating the feast of the Mother of God, Mary, on January 1, became a common tradition in the East and most of the West. As this holiday was never officially established by the Church in the universal calendar, celebrating the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ took the place of the Solemnity of Mary on January 1.
When the Novus Ordo was introduced, the liturgical calendar was revised, and the Feast of the Circumcision was sidelined in favor of reviving the ancient practice of the Solemnity of Mary. Thus, January 1 was once again dedicated to the Mother of God, and this time as a universally celebrated feast.
The Church has deemed the Solemnity of Mary a holy day of obligation. This day reminds Christians of the role she played as a Blessed Virgin, which eventually led to their salvation. After all, the birth of Christ wouldn’t have been possible without Mary.
Solemnity of Mary timeline
In Rome, the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord is celebrated on January 1.
The Order of the Most Holy Trinity is founded by John of Matha.
Another holiday for Mary, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is marked as a holy day by Pope Pius IX.
The rubrical and calendar revision by Pope John XXIII removes the mention of the circumcision of Jesus from celebrations on January 1.
Solemnity of Mary FAQs
What is celebrated on the Solemnity of Mary?
The Solemnity of Mary is a feast day for the Blessed Virgin Mary to honor her motherhood of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
When did the Catholic Church begin to venerate Mary?
In the first half of the 3rd century, the first liturgical reference to the Virgin Mary was recorded by Hippolytus of Rome.
Is December 9 a holy day of obligation?
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation for Catholics all over the world.
How to Observe Solemnity of Mary
The Solemnity of Mary is a holy day so, if you are a believer, attend Mass, say your prayers, and praise the Lord for all His blessings.
Host a Feast
As part of the feasts observed on the Twelve Days of Christmas, prepare your own feast and enjoy it with your friends and family. And, if you want, express your gratitude for the gathering through prayer.
Give to the needy
Acts of charity are very important on holy days such as the Solemnity of Mary. Share food from your feast with the needy or help them in any other way you can.
5 Facts About Blessed Mary, Mother Of Jesus
The Immaculate Conception
As the mother of Christ the Redeemer, Mary needed to be pure from sin and was given that privilege by God.
Greatest of all Saints
Mary is said to be the greatest of all saints because she was prepared by God himself to be the bearer of His Son, and she chose to fully cooperate in this blessing that was bestowed upon her.
Two areas of conflict
Some protestants claim that only Jesus was sinless and believe that Mary mothered children after giving birth to Jesus. On the other hand, Catholic tradition teaches that she was completely sinless and perpetually a virgin. These two schools of thought have long been areas of conflict.
Witness to the glory of Jesus
Everything Mary did was a witness to the miracles of her son Jesus, from her song, to her interventions, to her support of Jesus.
Honored in the Quran
There is an entire chapter dedicated to Mary in the holy book of Islam, The Quran. Mary is also mentioned more in the Quran than she is in the New Testament of the Bible.
Why Solemnity of Mary is Important
Part of the Twelve Days of Christmas
The feast of Solemnity of Mary falls during the Twelve Days of Christmas, making it an important holy observance.
Honoring the motherhood of Mary
Mary was a pillar of support to Christ. Not only was she his mother, but she also devoted her life to her son’s mission and faced oppression and struggle for the salvation of people.
It keeps faith strong
The Solemnity of Mary is often overshadowed by New Year celebrations. Observance of such holy days must be continued to keep the tradition alive and faith intact.
Solemnity of Mary dates