New Year’s Day a.k.a. The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ
New Year’s Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year’s Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, and is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church. In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year’s Day is probably the world’s most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone.
The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is a Christian celebration of the circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days (according to the Semitic and southern European calculation of intervals of days) after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his name.
The circumcision took place, not in the Temple, though painters sometimes so represent it, but in the home.
The circumcision of Jesus has traditionally been seen, as explained in the popular 14th-century work the Golden Legend, as the first time the blood of Christ was shed, and thus the beginning of the process of the redemption of man, and a demonstration that Christ was fully human, and of his obedience to Biblical law.
The feast day appears on 1 January in the liturgical calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the General Roman Calendar, the 1 January feast, which from 1568 to 1960 was called “The Circumcision of the Lord and the Octave of the Nativity”, is now named the solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord. It is celebrated by some churches of the Anglican Communion and virtually all Lutheran churches.