Smarter Living

This Is Why You Sing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve


Whether your normal New Year’s plans are to attend a swanky get together or watch the ball drop from residence, you most likely hear the identical track yearly when the clock strikes twelve. “Auld Lang Syne” is the tune most continuously related to the start of a brand new yr, even when nobody ever appears to know the phrases all that effectively (Something about forgetting outdated acquaintances?) or what they imply (Why would we need to neglect folks? That’s not each festive.). So why precisely is it custom to sing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve? We dug into the outdated track’s historical past to elucidate the way it turned a vacation staple and what, precisely, its unusual lyrics imply. For some decision inspiration, This Is the One New Year’s Resolution Everyone Is Making for 2021.

Robert Burns statue in Scotland
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The lyrics to the track come from a poem written by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, which have been then set to an outdated people tune. The title’s literal English translation is “old long since”—extra conversationally, “a long time ago.” For extra trivia to wow your mates, try 125 Facts That Will Make You Feel Instantly Smarter.

Aerial view of snow-covered Edinburgh Scotland
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According to, the poet sent a copy of the unique track to the Scots Musical Museum with the comment, “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man.” One inspiration for the lyrics is probably going the 1711 ballad, “Old Long Syne,” which has related phrases. So Burns did most likely be taught the track from the unnamed outdated man, who most likely realized it from elsewhere.

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Man and woman holding sparkler and champagne glass on New Year's
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When the Scots immigrated to America within the nineteenth century, they inevitably introduced the track with them. But its huge trendy recognition can largely be attributed to a Canadian bandleader named Guy Lombardo and his band, the Royal Canadians.

Long earlier than the notorious ball-drop, New Year’s Eve was marked in New York City by his annual end-of-the-year live performance, which included his conventional rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” He was so synonymous with the vacation that he was finally nicknamed “Mr. New Year’s Eve,” so the remainder of the world adopted go well with.

In 1965, he defined how he himself got here to associate “Auld Lang Syne” with the top of the yr to Life Magazine:

“‘Auld Lang Syne’ is our theme song—and was long before anyone ever heard us on the radio,” Lombardo mentioned. “In our particular part of western Ontario, where there’s a large Scottish population, it was traditional for bands to end every dance with ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ We didn’t think it was known here. When we left Canada we had no idea we’d every play it again.”

If you need to see the legendary singer in motion, try his rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”–his last one–on the eve of 1977, after performing for 48 years in a row. And for extra songs with hidden meanings, try 20 Songs You Didn’t Know Have Secret Messages.

Family video chatting on New Year's Eve
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It’s a well-known dialog in the movie When Harry Met Sally: what, precisely, is “Auld Lang Syne” attempting to remind us at the beginning of every new yr?

While the roundabout lyrics nonetheless causes confusion, it’s believed that the opening strains of the track are supposed to be rhetorical: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?” Apparently, meaning we should always have a drink in honor of no matter is passing, and keep in mind outdated buddies. For the wit and knowledge you want in 2021, try 40 Inspirational New Year Quotes to Start Your Year Off Right.

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