New Year’s Traditions: Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is an old Scottish song that was first published by poet Robert Burns, in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum, after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area . It is possible, but not certain, that Burns wrote the words himself. The origin of the melody is also unclear. The word “syne” is pronounced “sign”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Auld Lang Syne literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.” Guy Lombardo, leader of the band Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, is credited with making the singing of the song a New Year’s tradition, after hearing it sung by Scottish immigrants. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year’s eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929. After that, Lombardo’s version of the song was played every New Year’s eve from the 1930s until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years, it was broadcast on radio, and then on television. Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived.” Lombardo died in 1977, but the tradition lives on.


6 thoughts on “New Year’s Traditions: Auld Lang Syne

  1. Holly says:

    I knew you would have something interesting about New Year’s Eve, you always have the most intriguing info about holidays. I, too, have always wondered about the meaning of this great song, I grew up watching Guy Lombardo each year, it was fun to see adults wearing paper hats!

  2. catefneely says:

    So much fun to find your blog! I will subscribe. I was looking up info on carved Wassail bowls to write about the 7th day of Christmas, which is traditionally celebrated on New Year’s Day. Keep up the great work!

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