The History of Auld Lang Syne (The New Years Eve Song)

By: Kidman J. Williams

The year was 1788 when Robert Burns, a Scottish poet with the sensibility of a true entrepreneur took to the Scots Musical Museum and said, “Oi, you there! Did you know that nobody owns the rights to Auld Lang Syne?”

The man behind the counter looked down at his heavy dusty book and boisterously replied, “Oi! No SHIT?!?”

Then they cracked open a ripe old bottle of Scotch tilted it back right there in the museum, because you could drink on the job back then, to celebrate Robert Burns’ undeserving success for owning the only other song besides Happy Birthday that has stood the test of time.

That is a rough interpretation of the events that led to Robert Burns becoming the owner of an ancient song that everyone in the world sings on New Year’s Eve – or do they?

Nobody actually knows where the song really came from past Scotland. It was an ancient song passed down through the ages that we ALL now sing. But really, we don’t. Nobody actually knows the song do they? They might know the first couple lines, but that’s about it.

I don’t know anybody that actually knows what Auld Lang Syne even means!

The phrase auld lang syne roughly translates to ‘for old times’ sake.’ The song itself is about old friends and new beginnings along with overall fellowship and nostalgia.

Here is the original lyrics and the translated lyrics of the song. Happy New Year to you all.


Auld Lang Syne By Robert Burns:


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!


We twa hae run about the braes,

And pu’d the gowans fine,

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit

Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’t 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 fiere,

And gie’s a hand o’ thine,

And we’ll tak a right guid willie-waught

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!


Translation of the Robert Burns Classic:


Should old acquaintances be forgotten,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,

And days of long ago !



For old long ago, my dear

For old long ago,

We will take a cup of kindness yet

For old long ago.


We two have run about the hillsides

And pulled the daisies fine,

But we have wandered many a weary foot

For old long ago.


We two have paddled (waded) in the stream

From noon until dinner time,

But seas between us broad have roared

Since old long ago.


And there is a hand, my trusty friend,

And give us a hand of yours,

And we will take a goodwill draught (of ale)

For old long ago!


And surely you will pay for your pint,

And surely I will pay for mine!

And we will take a cup of kindness yet

For old long ago!