ST. LOUIS — Happy New Year 2023! But what is the significance of the newborn baby symbol?

Baby New Year is a picture of a baby who sometimes wears a hat or sash to represent the beginning of a new year.  He is frequently seen with Father Time, who is known as the grown-up baby from the previous year. 

At the end of each year, Father Time gives Baby New Year his wisdom and knowledge. Baby New Year will spend the next year growing and learning before passing on his wisdom as Father Time on January 1 of the next year, and so on. 

According to History.com the use of a baby as a personification of the new year has been traced back to ancient Greece. A baby in a basket was carried around to celebrate Dionysus’s yearly rebirth. Dionysus is the god of wine and fertility. 

As for Father Time, his image comes from the ancient Roman god of time, Saturn. The ancient Greeks often referred to Saturn as Kronos or Chronos, which means time.  Saturn is usually shown as an old man with a scythe because he was in charge of farming, and his annual festival was a harvest festival.

In the late 1400s, Germany compared the Baby New Year to the Baby Jesus, a religious figure.  In the 19th century, newspaper cartoonists made him less religious, and when the Saturday Evening Post put him on the cover wearing a top hat, he became popular.

What are some modern examples of “Baby New Year?”

Babies who are born on the first of the year are also known as “New Year’s Babies.” Some of them get fame and media attention for being the firstborns of the new year. 

Another example of “Baby New Year” is the 1976 “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year“. In the movie, Rudolph must find Happy, the baby New Year, before midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

The newest movie example is “The New Years Baby” which came out in 2021. It is about how Santa Claus has to find a holiday hero to represent a New Year’s mascot.