The story behind New Year's Eve history & traditions

Auld Lang Syne

Another New Years tradition is the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" as the clock strikes midnight.

Poet Robert Burns wrote the poem after hearing an old man singing it in his hometown of the Ayrshire area of Scotland. The song was set to a traditional folk tune.

Burns transcribed and refined some of the lyrics before sending it out to publishers, starting in 1788. The poem was published in the December 1796 book "Scots Musical Museum" five months after Burns died.

"Auld Lang Syne," which translates to "old long since" and generally speaks of times past, was originally published with the following Scottish verses:

VERSE:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne? (syne = since)

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my jo,

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

VERSE:

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!

And surely I'll be mine!

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

CHORUS