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Father Time

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Father Time is the Anthropomorphic Personification of time itself. He's commonly depicted as a bearded, elderly man dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe or sickle à la The Grim Reaper. Father Time is also occasionally seen holding timekeeping devices like clocks, hourglasses, or watches. Sometimes, he also has wings.

The ancient Greeks believed in Chronos, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Time, often depicted spinning a zodiac wheel. In the Renaissance where Greco-Roman art had a boom in popularity, it became very common to confuse Chronos with Cronos, the ruler of the Titans and Zeus' father. The later was a harvest deity most often depicted with a scythe, among other things. This lead to the two trading symbols with Chronos, gaining his scythe, which would become a common symbol for him in pop culture to this day.

Depending on the work, Father Time may be either co-workers or even friends with fellow anthropomorphic personifications such as Mother Nature, The Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy. Especially around December 31, he may meet up with Baby New Year.

As an embodiment of time itself, Father Time is normally a Time Master on some level. Sub-Trope of Anthropomorphic Personification. Compare to the aforementioned The Grim Reaper and The Old North Wind. Compare and contrast the previously mentioned Baby New Year. In some works, Father Time and Baby New Year may be biologically related.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The Time Clow Card has an image of such an old man. While the image on the card is of indeterminate gender, the actual personification is clearly an old man. The Sakura Card form is more obviously male, however.
  • Flint the Time Detective: The Old Timer is basically depicted as this universe's version of Father Time.
  • Ulysses 31: Chronos is the Master of Time. He has two faces, one with a medium siez white beard and another beardless and cackling face the back of his head, and he's been cast away by the gods of Olympus. Rather malevolent and self-serving, he captures 31st century Ulysses to have a chance of reintegrating the Olympus and submits Ulysses' crew to Rapid Aging.

    Comic Books 
  • Loop: The twins' dad is Father Time, a stern-looking old man with a clock-themed getup and what looks like the night sky under his robe.
  • The Sandman: Overture: Father Time is depicted as father to the Endless (seven embodiments of natural forces) through marriage to Mother Night. His apparent age changes unpredictably from panel to panel, including one panel where he's the traditional white-bearded old man.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "Time Waits For No Mandy," Father Time arrives for Mandy's birthday, and she tricks Father Time into taking a permanent vacation so time will stand still and she won't have any more birthdays (she's self-admittedly ageist). But the repetition of events become a boring irritation so Mandy tries to get Father Time to return to his job.

    Comic Strips 
  • Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!: Father Time is featured in the last strips at the end of the year before passing on the mantle to his infant son, who represents the New Year.

    Films — Animation 
  • Charlotte's Web: A song from the film is titled "Mother Earth and Father Time".
  • Father Time is featured in an animated Drive-In Theater clock shell, apparently from the early 1970s. Each of the minute spots shows him with a different timepiece: hourglass, sundial, cuckoo clock, etc.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass: Time is the half-human, half-clockwork embodiment of time itself who controls all of Wonderland's timeline and is in possession of a device called the Chronosphere.
  • Holiday Inn: Mamie's children appear in the New Year's Eve show, with the older one dressed as Father Time and the younger one as Baby New Year.
  • Ordet: Johannes alludes to Father Time's hourglass and scythe.
  • Our Mr Sun: Father Time appears and is played by Lionel Barrymore.
  • Santa Claus: The Movie: The Ancient One (strongly implied to also be Father Time) bestows Santa with the ability to have Christmas Eve last as long as he needs to deliver all his gifts, and also gives him the name "Santa Claus".
    Ancient One: Time itself shall travel with you.
  • The Santa Clause: In the second and third films of the trilogy, Father Time is featured as a member of the Council of Legendary Figures, alongside Mother Nature, The Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and Jack Frost.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Father Time is simply called Time, and is the one responsible for making the Mad Hatter and his friends have an endless tea party by stopping "himself" because the Hatter escaped decapitation from the Queen of Hearts for putting a terrible performance.
  • In "American Fairy Tales" by L. Frank Baum is the short story "The Capture of Father Time". Jim is the son of an Arizona cowboy who is tossing his lasso at nothing and so captures something invisible. Father Time is an old man with a bald head and a waist-length beard, who wears a white robe and carries a scythe and hourglass. Due to his capture, time freezes and the world stands still, allowing Jim to cause a range of mischief before he lets his captive go and time begins moving once more.
  • Hive Mind (2016): A pretend version in-universe. As part of New Year, a white-robed figure with long white hair and beard rides past on the express belts, carrying an hourglass with the new year's number on it. The clocks switch over as he goes past.
  • Incarnations of Immortality: Also called Chronos, Father Time is portrayed as a middle-aged man wearing 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. He appears in several books and is the main character of Bearing an Hourglass.
  • Jude the Obscure: Father Time is the name given to Jude Fawley's son, who's very melancholy and dies by suicide at a young age.
  • Master Hora from Momo is responsible for distributing their allotted time to all humans. Given that this is a story about time being stolen, he's the Big Good.
  • Nightside: Father Time appears here as his usual elderly self and helps people with time travel needs and also sometimes provides general guidance.
  • Father Time appears in The Silver Chair and its follow-up The Last Battle. He is described as a giant bigger compared to other giants than they are compared to normal humans, with a "noble" face and silver beard. He sleeps underground and will not be awoken until the end of the world.
  • Played with in the Thief of Time. The Discworld incarnation of Time is actually female but it's a major plot point that she is a mother, specifically the mother of the title character Lobsang Ludd and his flawed time-clone "brother" Jeremy. Once the two of them are recombined into a single entity, Lobsang takes over as the personification of time, allowing his (their?) mother to retire.
  • The Time Keeper: Dor, the central character, is Father Time himself. He's 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boardwalk Empire: Father Time appears in the episode "Resolution" at the main character's New Year's Eve party.
  • M*A*S*H: Colonel Potter appears as Father Time at the beginning and end of the episode "A War for All Seasons", which shows bits and pieces of life at the 4077th throughout the year 1951.

  • Old Man Time by Kate Rusby is obviously about this concept.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: Chronos is the personification of time itself, born from the primordial deities Aether and Chaos, and an egg according to the Orphic tradition. Not to be confused with Cronus, a first-generation titan and later father of Zeus that ruled the pantheon after disposing of his father Uranus (ironically, Zeus himself would later dethrone and kill Cronus). Chronos is thought to be the progenitor of the idea of time as a humanoid man.
  • The Zurvanite sect of Zoroastrianism reveres Zurvan, personified time (hence why it is sometimes considered a heresy, even though it technically predates the modern orthodoxy). They (sexless) are the progenitor of both the God of Good and God of Evil, wanting the former to be the ruler of the cosmos but due to wording it as the "first born" the latter bursts from their tummy and declares himself ruler (though Zurvan fixes this by setting a time limit; we're about to transition to the end of Ahriman's rule). Zurvanism holds them to be inexorable and holding control over fate (what is time but things set to happen, after all?), hence an atypically fatalistic perception of life compared to other Zoroastrian sects.

  • The Blue Bird: Father Time makes an appearance in both film versions played by Thurston Hall in the 1940 film and Robert Morley in the 1976 film.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Aveyond: Rhen's Quest, the Druid of Time has the appearance of a wizened scholar with white hair and beard. All the other druids have young-ish looking sprites.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, Althyk the Keeper is the god of time among the Twelve. He's depicted as a man with a white beard and his symbol is an hourglass. Unlike most depictions of an elderly sage with a scythe, Althyk is depicted as a mighty emperor in armor and armed with a mythril greataxe.
  • League of Legends: Zilean evokes this image. He's an ancient Shuriman scholar with chronokinetic abilities, identifiable by his bushy white hair and massive clock-like device that floats behind him. In-game, his ultimate can restore himself or his allies after death, and he can also slow or speed up the units around him with basic abilities.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Princess Zelda and Tatl separately make mention of the Goddess of Time, both times during the climax of the prologue. She seems to be a deity of the parallel world that Termina is in, but her powers can still be accessed via the Ocarina of Time from Hyrule.
  • Lords Of Time: Father Time appears at the beginning of the game, giving the player their quest to repair the timeline by retrieving nine holy objects.
  • Type to Learn 3 is hosted by Father Time himself as he guides the player through history with his typing time machine. Said machine taking the form of a magenta flying convertible.

    Web Comics 
  • Sinfest: Father Time is a recurring character, often appearing as an infant immediately on or after the Western New Year and an old man fated to die during the end of the year.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Father Time is alluded to in the "Oceans Unmoving" arc, which takes place in the Timeless Space overseen by his brother Uncle Time. He finally appears in ancient Mohkadun as Krohnus, head god of a lost civilization predating Egypt.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Beetlejuice, BJ and Lydia run afoul of Grandfather Time, who is depicted as a giant grandfather clock with a sour disposition. When they initially mistake him for Father Time, the clock is insulted, as he considers Father Time to be a lazy layabout.
  • Danny Phantom: The character Clockwork is essentially a ghost version of Father Time. He's known as the Master of Time and depicted as a child, young man, and old man in a constantly changing cycle. He also has a variety of timekeeping devices both on his person and in his lair and wields a staff that can be transformed into a scythe.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Father Time appears in the special episode "Timmy's Secret Wish" voiced by Jeff Bennett.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Father Time appears in the episode "Halls of Time".
  • How Murray Saved Christmas: Father Time is shown to be one of the residents of Stinky Cigars
  • Histeria!: Father Time is one of the main characters, as featured in the page image above.
  • House of Mouse: One in-universe cartoon has Mrs Turtle show up in the role of Mother Time. She lampshades that others have probably only heard of Father Time, before gruffly shouting "But don't get me started on him!"
  • Regular Show: Father Time appears in the episode "It's Time" as a being made out of clocks and wearing a purple hat. He also makes a cameo in Regular Show: The Movie to give Rigby a helping hand. He's voiced by Alan Sklar in the series and Fred Tatasciore in The Movie.
  • Rudolph's Shiny New Year: Father Time, voiced by Red Skelton who also provided the narration, sends Rudolph to search for Baby New Year after the infant goes missing.
  • The Smurfs (1981): Father Time is a recurring character and voiced by Alan Oppenheimer.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Father Time appears in the episodes "Freeze Day", "Mathmagic", and "Beach Day". In all three episodes, he helps Star with time-related problems.
  • In Teen Titans Go!, the episode "More of the Same" has the Titans trying, and failing, to have one good New Year's Day ritual which involves singing "Auld Lang Syne" properly. By the time they're old, they decide to take the fight to Father Time and the New Year Baby themselves. Raven just spanks the baby while Father Time ends up tripping on his scythe, finally giving the Titans one good New Year. It's a Pyrrhic Victory, since the world is a post-apocalyptic landscape.
  • Unikitty!: Father Time appears in the episode "Delivery Effect" where he asks the main characters not to use the time machine Dr. Fox created in order to speed up food delivery.
  • Yoo Hoo And Friends: Father Time is the main character and portrayed as a blue, Viking-like ogre (voiced by rapper Flavor Flav) who transformed five business executives into cute animals as punishment for their crimes against nature.


Video Example(s):


Henry meets Father Time

When Henry wishes for the ability to travel through time, Father Time shows up to grant his wish.

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