Welcome to our sixth day of Christmas traditions. As we are approaching New Year we’re going to have a look at some New Year traditions and customs, starting with ‘Auld Lang Syne’

Auld Lang Syne

In 1788  Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum, indicating that it was an ancient song but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for the sake of old times’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.

It has long been a much-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song just before midnight.

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Everyone stands in a circle holding hands, then at the beginning of the final verse  they cross their arms across their bodies so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. When the tune ends, everyone rushes to the middle, while still holding hands. When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.

article-2714949-203acf2800000578-893_964x666It has global significance…

Not just for five minutes every year when it is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia.. The tune was used by the Maldives and Korea for their national anthems, while Japanese department stores play it as a polite reminder for customers to leave at closing time.

You shouldn’t sing “for the sake of”

The final line of the chorus isn’t “For the sake of auld lang syne”. It’s just “For auld lang syne.” This is because, as mentioned above, Auld Lang Syne already means “for the sake of old times.” But it does fit pleasingly with the tune.

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And if you don’t know the lyrics:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
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 pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.

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.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne”

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