Every year since 600 B.C. the image has existed. An innocent baby is showcased to the masses wearing a sash emblazoned with the New Year. This year the sash will mark 2010, and the Weekly Newspapers can’t help but note, this baby, is usually in concert with a wizened old man sporting a beard bushier than Ernest Hemingway’s. But this article isn’t about that. It’s about that naked baby.
The Greeks began using a baby to symbolize the New Year around 600 B.C. They celebrated their God of Wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket to represent the rebirth of Dionysus as the spirit of fertility. The early Egyptians also used the baby as a symbol of rebirth, and an older bearded man would carry him around in a basket.
The symbol of a Baby New Year was ubiquitous throughout the pagan religions so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Catholic Church disallowed it for centuries. But, thanks to the fact it is next to impossible to kill an idea that people cleave to with all their might, the Catholic Church gave in and allowed infants to be used in New Year celebrations. They made one adjustment. The Baby New Year was transformed from a pagan symbol into a symbol of the Baby Christ.
The German Influence
The contemporary image of the Baby New Year comes to us, like the Christmas tree, courtesy of those fun-loving Germans. It was the Germans who first slapped a diaper on the Baby New Year. The newly diapered Baby New Year first cropped up in German woodcarving illustrations in the 1300s. When the German immigrants poured into Pennsylvania they brought with them the Christmas tree, Groundhog Day and our current image of the Baby New Year.
Baby New Year is a cute and chubby baby who wears nothing more than a diaper and a sash across his torso that shows the year he is representing. Baby New Year quickly grows up into an elderly bearded man who wears a loosely, fitting robe and carries an hourglass, or some other time keeping device.
Predictions for 2010
• At least one President, Executive Director, or CEO will be arrested on federal charges. However, all elected officials will be free of scandal.
• Bum Farto will emerge from hiding after having spent the last few decades working out a plan to sewer the entire Florida Keys without causing a burden to residents or businesses.
• The state-run insurance agency, Citizens Insurance, will come to their senses and base windstorm rates on facts and real data, instead of hypothetical computer models and tarot cards.
• Stalled developments will be jump-started to revitalize the U.S. 1 Corridor.
• Residents of the Florida Keys will enjoy a busy summer season, free of hurricanes and full of tourists.
• In 2010 everyone will be kind, thoughtful, friendly and generous to everyone, especially to locals like Moolah the Manatee. “We have to stick together…it’s a local thing,” says the affable FSB spokes-cow.