Babbles of the Baby New Year

baby new year tradition history

Many a happy new years have been dawning upon us since forever now, each one walking into the world in its own unique rendition, out of its birth as a baby and gradually transiting across the days to evolve into weeks and months and finally turning into one of those many old years we can’t wait to bid adieu to in anticipation of another newness, of another nascent life in beginnings that hold promises galore and that repeats indeed this cycle of life and continuation in nature. It’s almost as if each passing year is nothing more than mere personifications of us humans, in their harbouring of hopes and dwelling in dreams with endless possibilities to ponder over, continuing after every 365 days of their recurrence across such partaking of traditions and customs and rituals that maintain a pattern in being. It is perhaps in such predictability, considered a very favourable prospect by those charting out the course of the human life in all its unpredictable mess, that the year typically personified to such accurate extents resonate with us as being but another passage of life through which we come to define our own experiences. Which is why the new year has been ascribed such dimensions of existence that is characteristic of living beings in all exclusivity- of embarking upon the journey of life as a baby, shaping therefore the commonly held idea of what emerges as the Baby New Year in both visage and view.

In his representation as a baby typically wearing therefore nothing more than a diaper and a top hat, the always male Baby New Year is one of the most enduring symbols marking the time for a new calendar to guide our awareness of time for the coming dozen months. Sashed across his torso by the new year he represents, the baby indeed is very prominent in his embodying the identity of the year of which he is marking. A popular, enduring symbol of the New Year the world over, though personally one which surprisingly does not strike as much in its prevalence, the babied depiction of the new year alluding of course to the new beginnings on the horizon is significant in it being symbolic of the rebirth of the outgoing year into the incoming one. And like many other new year traditions and norms that seek to look inward into the advent of the newness in more deeper a perspective of it, the Baby New Year too asserts itself as an evocation stemming from the times of antiquity. With its roots emerging from the ancient lores prevalent in Greek legends and myths, the Baby New Year is steeped in a history far substantial than what his depiction as a mere toddler enables him to be instantly apparent in.

Traceable to times as far drawn as 600 B.C., the Baby New Year had been originally resting in godly enough premises of its being in its eventual evolution from the ancient Greek tradition of celebrating the god of wine and fertility. The observance of the annual rebirth of Dionysus by the Greeks every new year saw the representation of the god as an infant paraded in a basket throughout the town. Taking a cue from such customs were the German Christians of the 1400s who evoked instead their belief in Jesus Christ to depict him as a baby in their celebration of new beginnings. The present day connotation of the Baby New Year though largely manifests as a cultural exploration rather than a religious one, allowing it therefore such universality that can be attributed to its secularization rather recently, sometime only in the 19th century. Today a common element of editorial cartoons and also a popular assertion along diverse explorations in popular culture is the Baby New Year, retaining still its charm across the lanes of the symbolic expanse from which it was birthed.

Notwithstanding however such significance of his bearing in enormous meaning, the adorable indeed cherub that drives the vision of every Baby New Year in its mention through the times has to be inextricably tied with some elderly being, into which he himself grows through the course of the year. Associated therefore with the babied presentation of the new year in very much human an assertion of his form is such accompanying myth of Father Time, himself a personification of time and therefore quite in sync with the very idea from which the Baby New Year came to be. In fact, the baby boy identity in which the new year starts out as itself sees transformation into the elderly figure of Father Time by the end of the year, manifesting therefore as pretty much the same identity but in distinct assertions. No wonder that in its most authentic basis, the child and the old man weren’t separate entities but one single assertion emphasising the two stages of life in birth and death. More specifically though, the old bearded man that Father Time is depicted as accords him therefore the image of the outgoing year who hands over his duties to the Baby New Year, the latter himself aging into being the old year and therefore moulding into the Father Time allegory by the end of the year, setting the premise for the whole cycle of references to recur and thus continue for eternity. Depicted also in togetherness therefore are these personified representations of both Baby New Year and Father Time, the latter passing on his knowledge acquired across the tides of time to the baby year setting in who in turn traces out his own journey across the days and months to continue this tradition in symbolic significance. Dying out hence by the end of the year or more popularly continuing in his old form in which he retires as well, the very idea of the Baby New Year is one exactly identical with the human bearing of life.

In its very basis, the whole notion of the Baby New Year as also the integral exploration of Father Time is representative of the ‘in with the new, out with the old’ adage that governs every singly entity of the world. Interpreting this evident enough truth in all universality might make for a rather simple exercise in reinstating the knowledge that we all harbour of time being a transient tread through which life evolves. But specifically calling to mind such realisations at times when the world prepares to usher in the new year to replace the previous one strives as being more poignant an awareness of the fleeting essence of life. At the same time though, the pessimism invariably associated with death, even when it is of a mere year among the many through which we live, also is as alluding to the prospect of the hope and opportunities that reside in the new, entitling us all therefore to the belief of better days to come, to which we all look forward in the utter bliss of anticipation. The Baby New Year is encompassing of all such avenues leading to the promises held by the new which we can always expect to make the best of, calling upon ourselves the need to surrender to such resolutions that sum up indeed another as integral manifestation of what the New Year means in all its essence. Allowing us a threshold standing on which we need to look into the happenings of the days gone and on which basis we look forward to the coming times to either continue with all that has been or rectify and learn instead from them, both the allegorical references of Baby New Year and Father Time therefore manifest in such considerations of life only evoking of its beginning and the end. Indeed significant in bringing to mind such musings that strike more prominent a chord in reflection than in living are such traditions and symbols associated with the New Year that only furthers our awareness of the phenomenal nature of what characterise existences in all essence.

baby new year and father time
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Any dwelling on celebration in the real world though is never likely to prevail in only the symbolic fore of it, and specifically when it entails an occasion as universally happy as the new year itself, traditions sure do find a way to translate into being as practical trails for modernity to tread in all excitement. Be it therefore even such stemming as ancient as what the Baby New Year encompasses and the maverick minds of the world have still come up with renditions that continue with the tradition, albeit in altogether different a dimension of relevance. Baby New Year today isn’t only the mythical figure that he has always been, instead real people are as likely to chart out this particular legend as one of their own in their assuming of life. As a title accorded to the first baby born in that particular year, the Baby New Year is as real life an identity in all assertion. And it only is apt perhaps that the human specific trait that the New Year has been made to encompass in all its assuming of tradition should only return to characterise also the very realm from which it has continued to find expression throughout the ages. After all, the Baby New Year indeed stands for life coming full circle and what better way to celebrate this spirit of wholeness than by making it as veritably real a part of our lives? As babies living our lives through the years until the time we morph into the elderly figure, not always male though of course, perhaps all of us can lay claim to be the Baby of every Happy New Year. What a terrific thought indeed to start the year with in all the new found happiness of birthing as a baby!