In Biblical tradition, every male child was formally named and circumcised on the eighth day after birth. In many societies circumcision is observed as a rite of passage. In Judaism—where ritual circumcision is known as berith or bris—it is said to be the sign of the covenant established between God and Abraham.
Jesus, too, was circumcised according to Jewish law: “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.” (Luke 2:21)Christians observing this festival celebrate his name-giving as well as Jesus’ keeping of the Law through submission to the ritual. His circumcision is also traditionally seen as a first shedding of blood, an event foreshadowing his sacrifice on the cross.