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Auld Lang Syne : A song for New Years celebration, by Robert Burns

Updated on December 31, 2012

This hub is dedicated to the man, Robert Burns for composing the famous song “Auld Lang Syne”, a song for New Years celebration.

Every year, we celebrate the coming of new year, and most of us would hear the song “Auld Lang Syne” from the television or from any other celebration or parties we are attending. I am just wondering where does this famous song originated, that’s what prompted me to do a research about the famous song and I want to share it with you.

Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

The phrase simply means “old long since” or “long time ago”, and “days gone by“. You can also translate it as “once upon a time“. In short, the days of Auld Lang Syne simply means a day long ago, and is also used in retelling of fairy tales like…Once upon a time….

How to sing the song Auld Lang Syne

Those who are participating usually cross their arms and link arms with each other people on each side of them. You then cross your arms and then your left hand links with the crossed left hand of the other person on your left and the opposite happens for the person on your right. You can either stand in rows or in a large circle formation. Normally a large circle is the Scottish way of singing it. It is often say that a very large celebrations, thousands of people will sing the lyrics of this song, the circle can take up whole dance floors or even the length of a street.

It is sung also as loyalty to a friend and remembering the good old days you shared with them.

 Robert Burns (25 January 1759  21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scottish poet, who wrote the "Auld Lang Syne"
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scottish poet, who wrote the "Auld Lang Syne" | Source

History of the Song Auld Lang Syne

In 1788 Robert Burns, a Scottish man wrote a poem which later on became the most famous song during New Years eve, the Old Lang Syne. It is greatly sang in all parts for the world specially in English speaking countries. Aside from the New years eve, the song is also sang during the celebration of Robert Burns day or Burns night. According to history Burns supper is common in Scotland and is celebrated on January 25 every year. This is his near his birthdate and in memory of his life and works. It is also known as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night (Burns Nicht), although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.

The original of the song was submitted by Burns to the Scott Musical Museum, and accompanying the song he wrote this note “The following song, an old song of the old times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man”. The song was popularized by Guy Lombard (Canadian band member) in the united States and Canada where he recorded it twice, once in 1929 and in 1947. It became his trademark when he open his live broadcast in radio and in television too. It became popular ever since.

Since it first creating by Burns in the song has been popularized everywhere in the world. Although it has been known at first to be sang in Scottland, some Britons and English people shared the song to the world when they travel or immigrate to other place.

Some of known poets like Robert Ayton 1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) used the term before Burns finally made the poem which turned into a song for every new years day celebration.

It was also said to be sang in the two most popular event in the early 19th century

"Holiday Parties at Lenox (Massachusetts, USA) (1896)

"New Year's Eve in London (London, England) (1910)

Now we know where Auld Lang Syne came from : A song for New Years celebration, by Robert Burns came from. I am inviting you all to celebrate with me and sing the song. Cheers, Happy New Year to all!

auld lang syne by Andre Rieu

Auld Lang Syne (first two paragraphs)

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


For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


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    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from US

      Hi Juddy, Tradition and history are hard to just disregard bec. It is rooted in us. At least the melody is awesome and the chords, hope you can post how you "jezzed it up". Happy New year, best, maita

    • profile image

      Juddy Bentley 

      10 years ago

      This is such a weird song ? Why don't we change or switch to something else ? Does it really deserve to be so popular, big deal if it's a tradition so are many bad things, why repeat them ! I'm learning the song now and ready to play it on a jazzed up version but just trying to sing the words is tough.. It's like a foreign language and doesn't feel all that American, the melody is awesome and so are the chords !

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Thanks Tony, I really appreciate you reading this one, Isn't he really great? Maita

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Maita for an excellent Hub on a famous Burns song. Well-researched and well-written Thanks. Have linked it to mine on the great Rabbie Burns.

      Love and peace


    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      thanks Charlie, I never know you commented to this one, i just read it today, Happy New year, maita

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great hub Maita. A subject close to my heart as I am a Campbell, and Burns is a sept of Clan Campbell. Have a great holiday hun, CC

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      hi Dave, thanks for the added information, Yes I really liked to learn a lot from other culture and this song which originated from Scottland is a good indication of a well cultured Scottish people, thanks to Robert Burns and prior song writers who contributed a lot to the song. !

      Thanks for the read, have a good day always! Maita

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      11 years ago from Worcester, UK

      Hi Maita - well researched :) Auld Lang Syne was indeed an even older song that Burns collected and rewrote, adding a couple of new verses. By this time he had already made his name as a poet and was spending much of his time collecting and rescuing from obscurity many of the old folk songs and tales from the Scottish oral tradition. Auld Lang Syne is forever fixed to New Year now (even if most of the folk that sing it get the words wrong!!)

      Burns nicht celebrations should be on Jan 25, but in practice are often plus or minus a couple of weeks. This is mainly because the best speakers, singers, pipers, dancers are in high demand for these events and can't be everywhere on one night!

      Welcome to Scotland...

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      hi Ms Dolores, I agre with you, beautiful song and wonderful tradition, when you get older and for the little ones, you will always remember the times you celebrate New Year with friends or your loved ones,

      thnaks for the read, Maita

    • prettydarkhorse profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from US

      Hi Dohn, thaks for reading this hub, yes thats funny, but Auld Lang Syne I think is for friends, and for those who are close to us, that we shall never forget them,

      Yes, I remember that in the movie too,I love that movie by the way! thanks Dohn, Maita

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      A wonderful song and a beautiful tradition. The whole caste sings Auld Lang Syne at the end of It's a Wonderful Life and gets the tears aflowin' every time.

    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great idea for a hub, Maita. I loved the part in, "When Harry Met Sally" when Harry begins to ask Sally why "old acquaintances be forgot?" because if they are indeed forgotten, how are we to remember them in the first place/bring them up as a topic of discussion??? Funny :)

      Thanks, Maita! Happy New Year in advance!


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