Happy New Year: Why We Sing “Auld Lang Syne”


What does Auld Lang Syne mean? And why do we sing it at the stroke of midnight?  

Ring in the New Year, and the singing of Auld Lang Syne. Why Auld Lang Syne? This is an extremely old Scottish song which in translation means “for old times’ sake” or “times gone by” was first written down by Robert Burns in 1788. Its singing without being written down goes back even further.  Sung all over the world, the song invokes feelings of friendship, preserving them and a review of the year, pledging to leave them all behind. With a hint of nostalgia tossed in for good measure.

Traditionally, the song is sung just before midnight, however in American it’s performed at the stroke of midnight, marking the beginning of the New Year.  This is a very long song and much like our own National Anthem, all verses are seldom heard. Most Scots and the world know the first verse and chorus.

Burns’ original Scots verse English translation(minimalist)
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?CHORUS:For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.CHORUSWe twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.CHORUSWe twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?CHORUS:For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.CHORUSWe two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.CHORUSWe two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Otherwise, get over yourself and begin the New Year, 2017 with new perspective. Leave the baggage of the past where it belongs, in 2016. Remember, times gone by.

“Happy New Year”, from Urban CNY News to our online readers, over the last year, our website traffic has doubled. With over 20 journalism awards under our belt, Urban CNY News intends to bring you information not commonly disseminated in the African- American Community. You’re exposed to viewpoints that you’ll never find in our “daily” newspapers or our “alternative” news media friends.