If you are wondering where the Baby New Year origin begins, you are not alone. Most people think of a little baby wearing only a diaper, sash and top hat upon his head smiling while bringing in the New Year. Modern times have brought more to the meaning of Baby New Year than a cute little baby.
The Origins of Baby New Year
New Year's represents the change of the year, in that twelve months have passed and dates back 4000 years. The Baby New Year origins began in 600 B.C. with the Greeks, though the early Egyptians can also be given credit for using a baby as a symbol of a new year. The baby represents rebirth.
The Greeks believed that their god of Wine, Dionysus, was reborn on New Years as the spirit of fertility. They would parade around with a baby in a basket to represent the rebirth of Dionysys.
Even though Christians felt this was a pagan tradition and denounced using a baby to bring in the New Year, the popularity of the symbol won, though in a different way. The end of the year is commerated with a different baby as the birth of baby Jesus became a special celebration.
Meaning of Baby New Year
Baby New Year represents "in with the new, out with the old." You may have seen cartoons showing Father Time depicted as an old man with a long gray beard. The story goes that Baby New Year will grow throughout the year into Father Time. At the end of the year, Father Time will hand over his responsibilities to the next Baby New Year.
Baby New Year Traditions
Many cities have created a tradition where the first baby born that year represents "Baby New Year." Often this child gets local news coverage, and in many cases gifts such as savings bonds or free diapers as a birthday gift.
Baby New Year Contests
Many companies have jumped on the promotional band wagon of celebrating Baby New Year.
Baby Bonds or Cash Prizes
Many local hospitals and media stations will offer a baby bond to the first five or ten babies born that year. In the past, it was not uncommon for national companies to offer a large prize for the very first baby born and advertise it heavily.
Controversy Over the Winner
Popularity in the first baby of the New Year contests has dwindled due to a contest PR nightmare.
In 2007, Toys R Us offered a $25,000 prize to the first baby born in the United States. However, they weren't anticipating that the first baby would be born to a non-resident. Toys R Us quickly denied the prize saying the Chinese-American child did not qualify. After negative press, they decided to reverse their decision and 2007's US Baby New Year received the prize.
Some companies still offer this, but most new baby contests are photo contests, looking for the new face of the next year.
Another type of Baby New Year contest you may find includes Baby photo contests where you send a picture of your baby born that year. For example, the Canon New Baby Photo Contest offers a grand prize of $10,000 towards baby's education. The winner is usually chosen by a panel of judges.
Finding Baby Contests
There are many ways to find contests and prizes. Your local hospital should be aware of most local contests that are happening and be able to let you know if you won. Some other ways to find out about contests include:
- Check with your local newspapers to see if they know what companies are offering different prizes and gifts for the first baby of the year.
- Ask the local doctor's office if they offer prizes or incentives for the first baby of the new year, or if they know who does.
- Read parenting magazines and look in the classifieds for different contests
Claiming Your Baby's New Year Prize
If you think your baby is a winner, contact the company or organization that is offering the contest and provide them with your baby's name, date and time of birth. They will be able to provide you with the details on how to claim your prize and what steps need to be taken.