Is January 1 a Holy Day of Obligation?

Do Catholics Have to Attend Mass on New Years?

Mary and the child depected as a hodegetria. Tesselated icon in monumental style, early 13th century.
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai (Egypt)/K. Weitzmann: "Die Ikone". Public Domain

In the United States and other countries, the bishops have received permission from the Vatican to abrogate (temporarily waive) the requirement for Catholics to attend mass on certain Holy Days of Obligation when those Holy Days fall on either Saturday or Monday. As a result, some Catholics have become confused about whether certain Holy Days are, in fact, Holy Days of Obligation.

The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, is one such holy day.

What Is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God?

A solemnity is the highest ranking holy day in the Church calendar. The Solemnity of Mary is a liturgical feast day honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary's motherhood in the wake of the birth of the baby Jesus Christ. This holiday is also the Octave of Christmas, or the 8th day of Christmas. 

Date of the Solemnity of Mary

January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. However, when it falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated.

For instance, January 1 fell on Saturday in 2011; Catholics in the United States were not required to attend Mass. Catholics in other countries may be required to attend Mass. Check with your priest or your diocese to determine whether the obligation remains in effect in your country.