MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a song that’s synonymous with New Year’s: Auld Lang Syne. Even if you don’t know the words, you certainly know the tune.

So, what does Auld Lang Syne mean? Good Question.

The words come from a 1788 poem generally attributed to Scottish poet, Robert Burns. When sending the lyrics to publishers, he wrote, “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.”

The Scottish translation for Auld Lang Syne is “old long since.” It might be easier to think of it as “days gone by.”

There are five verses, but people generally only sing the first verse and the chorus. The first verse is as follows:

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

Essentially, it’s a rhetorical question that reminds us to remember old friends.

There’s debate about whether the melody we know today was the original, but the tune became popular during New Year’s in the U.S. after Guy Lombardo and his orchestra played it in New York City on New Year’s Eve in 1929.

Heather Brown


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