For Old Times Sake -or- The Meaning of "Auld Lang Syne"

Those people you used to know and hang out with? Well, forget about ’em!

That’s essentially what you sing every new year at the stroke of midnight, after you’ve kissed your sweetie.

In typical Scottish tradition, “Auld Lang Syne” can mean either the above title phrase, ‘for times long past’, or even ‘long, long ago’. It was originally a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in the late 1700s, then set to the tune of a traditional Scots folk song. Soon, all of Britain would sing this on NYE, and centuries later, Guy Lombardo popularized it here in the 1930s on his annual NYE telecasts. (He was the old Dick Clark).

Bands as varied as U2, Elvis Presley, Dan Fogelberg, Kenny G and John Philip Sousa have been credited with playing a version of this song.

This is now my favorite verse:

And surely you will pay for your pint-vessel!
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet,
For Auld Lang Syne.

I would be remiss to exclude one of Burns’ original verse- such an awesome language-can you figure it out?

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar’d 
Sin’ auld lang syne. 

If it were up to me (which has been the case on several occasions since high school), every new year would begin with U2’s ‘New Years Day‘. Favorite line:

Under a blood-red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspaper says, says
Say it’s true, it’s true…
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one.

Go enjoy your night, and please, don’t drink and drive, or text and drive. Be safe. Be careful out there on this, what we call ‘amateur night’ (a whole bunch non-drinkers getting smashed). 

Have a great 2011!

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