Auld Lang Syne — A History


Welcome!  Welcome!
Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d take a break from posting about Native America and take trip to Scotland instead via a song.
It is to Scottish songwriter, Robert Burns, that the world owes its debt for the beautiful poem of Auld Lang Syne.  Interestingly, it’s become an  anthem that is recognized and sung all around the world.
.As the website at says: “Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.”

Robert Burns penned the poem in 1788 and it is said to be set to an old folk song from the Lowland in Scots tradition, but interestingly, the melody sung the world round on New Year’s is not the original tune that the music was set to.  The older tune is said to be sung in Scotland in tradition.  I couldn’t find the original melody for this old song, but I wish I had — I’d love to hear what it was all about.

Another interesting fact is that it was Guy Lombardo who popularized the song and its use at New Year’s — although the song was brought to the United States by Scottish immigrants.  Lombardo started his broadcasts in 1929 — and it just somehow caught on — to the world at large.
In the words of Robert Burns, himself:
“… is not the Scots phrase, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, exceedingly expressive – there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul”.
Robert Burns — a very handsome young man — who, though born a peasant, yet  lived with vigor and unfortunately for the world at large died young of rheumatic fever, even as his wife was giving birth to their 9th child.  He was only 37 years old.
9 children?  Goodness, he was busy, wasn’t he?  But he gave the world so much!

The words to Auld Lang Syne — taken from the website: features/ / the-history-and-words-of-auld-langsyne

Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses, and a translation of the words to Auld Lang Syne:
Scots Language version
Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
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.
We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
English translated version
Long, Long Ago

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.
And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago
And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.
We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.
We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.

It’s been a rough year for many of us.  And yet, in some ways, our spirit has risen up to the occasion.  It is my wish for you that this next year be a better and more promising year.  I think we still have a bit of a rough ride ahead of us, but if we can keep loving one another throughout this next year, I think we’ll be okay.
Let me know your thoughts.  And, also what do you plan to do this New Year’s Eve?  For our family, it’s games!  Games!  Games!  Maybe some slow dancing, too…


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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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25 thoughts on “Auld Lang Syne — A History”

  1. We usually have pizza, cheese and crackers, and soda. We watch Dick Clarks count down with Ryan. It’s just the three of us at home so we don’t do much. Shortly after midnite we go to bed.

    • Hi Pam! i think we’re going to have beef stew tonight. I’ve put on a lb or two over the holidays and I think beef stew is somewhat lo carb and lo fat. Of course I don’t care about the lo fat, as I eat lots of butter as a rule — straight — I was always taught that eating butter (raw) helps to keep one’s weight down — so I don’t count the butter. Well, we usually go to bed shortly after midnight, too. Have a fun time!

  2. Enjoyed your post Karen. I will be journeying breast cancer. But my faith is strong and I know God’s Grace will be sufficient for me. Day by day, chemo after chemo, I will lean on Him. Happy New Year!

  3. This is very interesting, I never new all the words before. Yes I am looking for a better year ahead but I know that part of it will be about the same but maybe get better soon. I will probably bring in the new year reading or watching TV usually reading though.

    • Ha! Reading! I love reading at any time and particularly during holidays. Don’t watch TV ever. We stopped watching TV back in 1999 when the drug companies started advertising and we just didn’t think that was right. For me, I will never watch TV (as it is now) again…unless I’m with someone who likes it and I have no choice. : ) Not saying TV isn’t entertaining…just not for me. But reading… Ah! How I love reading!

  4. Kay, thanks for posting all the words to this song–this was one of my dad’s favorites, so I think of him when I hear it. He loved Robert Burns, and I do, too, probably because of him. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve/Day. We are going to probably go to bed BEFORE midnight (we are old fogeys) since the dogs get up so early. Here’s to a fantastic 2021! (That beef stew sounds good–I might make some of that too, since you mentioned it!) XO

  5. Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks so much for coming to the blog and leaving a post. Love hearing about all the wonderful memories and times you had with your dad. What a legacy Robert Burns left for us, and yet he was taken from us much too soon.

    Yeah, that beef stew sounds good to me right now, too. Have a wonderful, beautiful and very good 2021.

    • Sounds like a good plan. Did you have a good New Year’s Eve? As planned, we did play games and danced. Went to bed shortly after midnight, though, as I’d thought we might do. Happy New Year!

    • Hi Tonya! Am so happy to see you here on the blog and commenting on the post. Hope your New Year’s Eve was lovely. And thank you for your well wishes.

  6. We didn’t do anything special except ringing in the new year with Ryan Seacrest on TV. Happy New Year! Hopefully 2021 will be a better year.

  7. Hi Diana! So nice to hear from you! We gave up TV long ago and so don’t live with it at all. Sometimes I feel really out of things as I have no idea who Ryan Seacrest is. But, am glad that he was there on New Year’s Eve!

    Yes, let’s pray that 2021 will be a better year. Again, I do believe that through it all, if we keep love in our hearts for one another, we’ll come through this time okay.

  8. My husband and I have never been partiers on New Year’s Eve. We spend it home and my husband is usually in bed by 10 or 11. I stay up and watch the ball drop in Times Square. New Year’s Day is when we would “celebrate.” Rose Bowl Parade (in person one year) and a day of games, reading, TV football, and constant snacking. Sometimes our cousins, aunt, and uncles came over for the day and the fun would multiply.
    I hope you have a wonderful 2021.

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