So here's why you sing 'Auld Lang Syne' on New Year's Eve

Do you know why you sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on Old Year's night, or New Year's Eve (whichever one you prefer)?

If not, you're not alone. In fact, you're among thousands of people who mumble through the popular tune, knowing only one thing - It's like the New Year's anthem.

So let's clear it up a little, so that when you sing it tonight, you know more about what you're really singing...and perhaps you can rehearse the words too.

For starters, "Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish-language poem that's 230 years old (written in 1788 by Robert Burns) and it was set to the tune of a traditional folk song.

It's used to say farewell to the old year because the poem's title - Auld Lang Syne - may be translated into standard English directly as "old long since" or to be clearer, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times".

Consequently, the words "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times" or if you turn it around, "for old times' sake".

Because of that its traditional use is to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

But it has other uses. It is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.

And be honest, you probably don't know the words, so let's help you with the first verse and chorus, which is mostly all that people tend to sing despite the song having a total of 5 verses.

"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."

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