The 1st day of January is the Octave Day of Christmas (i.e., from
December 25 to January 1, inclusive, are 8 days).
This is the Feast of the Circumcision, a day known in the Novus Ordo as
"Mary, Mother of God"; either way, January 1 is a Holy Day of
Obligation on which we must attend Mass. On this day, we recall Our
Lord's submitting to the Mosaic Law by getting circumcised on the 8th
day of His human life in obedience to the Law:
This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy
seed after thee: All the male-kind of you shall be circumcised. And you
shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign
of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall
be circumcised among you, every manchild in your generations: he that
is born in the house, as well as the bought servant, shall be
Our Lord later
fulfilled this part of Torah through the Sacrament
of Baptism, an event which will be brought into focus on the Feast
of the Epiphany in 5 days and again on the 13th of January at the
Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord. His Circumcision, though, has
another, deeper meaning in that it symbolizes and foreshadows the Blood
He will shed for us on Calvary...
Today, too, we honor the Holy Name of Jesus
which was given to Him on this day. We celebrate His Holy Name more
fully next Sunday (or tomorrow if the first Sunday of the year falls
today, or on the 6th or the 7th), on the Feast of the Holy Name.
On this day, a plenary indulgence can
be acquired, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy
Note: Today is New Year's Day of the secular year, and it's considered
good luck to eat black-eyed peas (for luck), collard greens (for
money), and hog jowls (for plenty).
important information about the Catholic view of circumcision, see this page.