The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God acknowledges and celebrates Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus Christ. This holy day of obligation is a liturgical celebration observed on January 1, which falls exactly one week after Christmas, the end of the octave of Christmas (Only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave, which is an eight day extension of the feast).
It is fitting to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, following the birth of Christ. When Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring Jesus. Calling Mary “mother of God” is the highest honor we can give Mary. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace,” the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace” This solemnity, falling on New Year’s Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace. While many Christians recognize Christmas as a celebration of Jesus’ birth, the solemnity is also a festival of his Incarnation, that is, God becoming human in the person of Jesus.