Happy New Years everyone! However, many different cultures celebrate the beginning of the new year on other dates during the year. For example, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated at the beginning of October. The Chinese will celebrate the beginning of the new year in late January. In fact, we as a church celebrated the beginning of the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent, last November.
The custom of celebrating New Year in the western world on January 1st goes back to the 2nd Century in Rome. January 1st was chosen because it was the date when Roman councils took office. It was a day celebrated with wild parties and other excesses — so not too much has changed in the past 2000+ years.
Liturgically, we as a church celebrate January 1st as a Holy Day not because it is New Year’s, but because it is the Octave of Christmas, or the eighth day of celebrating our Christmas joy, and is a Solemn Feast honoring Mary as the Mother of God.
Please click above to watch Father Jerry’s New Year’s celebration.