Father Time is a personification of time. In recent centuries he is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, sometimes with wings, dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device.
As an image, "Father Time's origins are curious." The ancient Greeks themselves began to associate chronos, their word for time, with the god Chronos, who had the attribute of a harvester's sickle. The Romans equated Cronos with Saturn, who also had a sickle, and was treated as an old man, often with a crutch. The wings and hourglass were early Renaissance additions and he eventually became a companion of the Grim Reaper, personification of Death, often taking his scythe. He may have as an attribute a snake with its tail in its mouth, an ancient Egyptian symbol of eternity.
Around New Year's Eve, the media (in particular editorial cartoons) use the convenient trope of Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or "the Old Year") who typically "hands over" the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or "the New Year") or who otherwise characterizes the preceding year. In these depictions, Father Time is usually depicted wearing a sash with the old year's date on it.
Time (in his allegorical form) is often depicted revealing or unveiling the allegorical Truth, sometimes at the expense of a personification of Falsehood, Fraud, or Envy. This theme is related to the idea of veritas filia temporis (Time is the father of Truth).
Father Time is an established symbol in numerous cultures and appears in a variety of art and media. In some cases, they appear specifically as Father Time while in other cases they may have another name (such as Saturn), but the characters demonstrate the attributes which Father Time has acquired over the centuries.
An old statue of Father Time sits on the grounds at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.
A clock featuring Father Time, created by Guéret Frêres, Atelier Cartier, and Vincenti et Cie, may be viewed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum also owns a drawing that is a study for a similar clock.
Old Father Time appears in the fantasy novel series Nightside by Simon R. Green, as an elderly character tending to peoples' needs for time travel—and in some cases—guidance.
Father Time appears in the fairy tale themed short story, written by L. Frank Baum. Entitled "The Capture of Father Time". That Father Time was captured by the son of an Arizonian cowboy named Jim because of his foolishness.
Time is one of the Incarnations of Immortality in Piers Anthony's series of the same name. Time (also referred to as "Chronos") appears in several of the books and is the main character of Bearing an Hourglass. For most of the series he appears as a middle-aged man in a blue robe (which has the power to age to oblivion anything which attacks him) and bearing an hourglass which he can use to control the flow of time and move through both time and space.
In Mitch Albom's book The Time Keeper, Dor, the central character, is Father Time. He is freed from exile and sent to Earth on the condition that he teaches two people on Earth the true importance of time, a teenage girl who does not wish to live anymore, and a dying old billionaire who wishes to live forever.
Father Time is a character in Jude the Obscure, a novel by Thomas Hardy. Father Time is the name given to Jude Fawley's son, who is dreadfully melancholy and commits suicide at a young age.
Father Time is a recurring character in Tatsuya Ishida's webcomic Sinfest, often appearing as an infant immediately on or after the Western New Year, and as an old man fated to die during the end of the year.
Father Time appears in Neil Gaiman's graphic novel The Sandman: Overture, depicted as father to the Endless – seven embodiments of natural forces – through marriage to Mother Night.
Father Time appears as a recurring character in The Smurfs voiced by Alan Oppenheimer. His Reverse Clock was responsible for turning Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy into Smurflings. In Future Smurfed, he was captured by Lord Balthazar.
Father Time appeared in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "The Halls of Time" voiced again by Alan Oppenheimer. He's inspired by the aforementioned Rudolph's Shiny New Year portrayal as he too works with a baby that represents Happy New Year.
Father Time appeared in Regular Show episode called "It's Time" voiced by Alan Sklar. He appears to be made out of clocks and wears a purple hat.
A song in the animated version of Charlotte's Web is titled "Mother Earth and Father Time".
Father Time (The Sage of Time) is the leader of the Tapestry of Nations parade at Epcot during the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration.
A ghost in Danny Phantom is similar to Father Time and is named Clockwork (voiced by David Carradine). He is known as the master of time and is depicted as a child, young man, and old man in a constantly changing cycle. Clockwork also has a variety of timekeeping devices on his person, and wields a staff that can be transformed into a scythe. He first appeared in the special episode "The Ultimate Enemy".
Father Time appeared in a version of YooHoo & Friends produced by David Feiss (voiced by rapper Flavor Flav), where he was depicted as a blue Viking-like ogre who had transformed five business executives into cute animals.