Normally, we say


but when it comes to saying


where does that little apostrophe go from "YEAR"?


These are two different constructions.

"New year's messages" is a possessive construction - the messages in some sense belong to (or pertain to) the new year.

"New year messages" is a modified noun phrase: "New year" is a noun phrase which modifes "messages". This is a very common construction: other examples are "Summer showers", "city streets", "a new car smell" (which is formally ambiguous, but always used to mean "the smell associated with a new car").

Both expressions may be available, but the second is more widespread and general. There is usually little difference in meaning between them.

And note that it's not the apostrophe that's gone, but the "'s". The apostrophe doesn't exist in speech, but the 's' does!

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