Auld Lang… What?

Auld Lang Syne

We hear it. We sing it. Well, sort of. What does “Auld Lang Syne” mean? And what’s with the awkward words?

Well for starters, it’s Scottish – which gives it extra awesome-points, but makes the lyrics that much more imperceptible.

“Auld Lang Syne” is probably derived from the phrase: “old days long gone.” Try it. Say it out loud. Those crazy Scots. It starts to sound even more like that after a few strong Scottish ales. I’ve heard :) In old Scots Language, “auld lang syne…” is used to introduce everything from fairy tales, to toasts, to speeches, and songs. Think of it as a Scottish version of “once upon a time.”

The song starts out with a rhetorical question: “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” In essence saying: “In light of everything going on these days, what good would it do us to forget our old friends?” Great question.

It fits then, that Auld Lang Syne is most typically sung at New Year’s Eve: friends around – with the light of the previous year just over your shoulder.

Here’s to lasting friendships.

Friendships tested.

Friendships victorious.

Happy New Year.


For those curious – here are Burns’ English-ified lyrics (do your best William Wallace impression you’ll do just fine):

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
in the days of auld lang syne?

For old days long gone, my dear,
for old days long gone,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for old days long gone.

v2. And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for old days long gone.

v3. We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since old days long gone.

v4. We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since old days long gone.

v5. And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for old days long gone.


One thought on “Auld Lang… What?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s