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Catholic Activity: New Year's Day, Honoring Godparents



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New Year's Day, is now the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Formerly this was the Feast of the Circumcision, and the day Christ was named. An old tradition is the honoring of godparents on this day, by visits or letters.


This was the day of the giving of gifts, husbands to wives, masters to servants, parishioners to their priests. Moreover, it was a day to go visiting. "On the first day of this month will be given more gifts than will be kindly received or gratefully rewarded. Children, to their inexpressible joy, will be drest in their best bibs and aprons, and may be seen handed along streets, some bearing Kentish pippins, others oranges stuck with cloves, in order to crave a blessing of their godfathers and godmothers." It is pleasant to think that the day of Christ's naming should be the occasion of honoring godparents; and it would be easy enough in any family with small children to invite the godparents to some celebration, or in the case of grown-ups, to visit or to write to those who have been their sponsors. Godparents undertake a considerable responsibility at the font, so what could be more appropriate than some sort of acknowledgment of it on this day?

Activity Source: Candle is Lighted, A by P. Stewart Craig, The Grail, Field End House, Eastcote, Middlesex, 1945