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

Look familiar? Probably not… This is my blog from last year, when my publishing day fell ON New years Eve, and many, myself included, were too busy to sit and read a blog. I figured I should reprise it, as it teaches us something about what we’ll sing tonight, AND, well, you try to write something with two crazy kids climbing all over you, demanding food. I swear both kids are going through a growth spurt. Sam downed 15 pieces of bacon the other day-15! Then told me he was hungry.

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/Anderson Cooper/Ryan Seacrest).

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 by far 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). We’ll be snowboarding with cousins and friends, so if you see any casts when we return, you’ll know why! Ay, Mama!

Have a great 2012!


Leave a comment
  • I don't think U2's lyrics will ever replace Auld Lang Syne.

Leave a comment