Monday, December 28, 2009

You know that song you hear every New Year's Eve? The one about not forgetting old acquaintances. Did you ever wonder what that phrase is in the chorus? Is it:
  • For old ang zine
  • Far hold ang zyne
  • For old aunt Gzyne
  • Farheld ang zyne
  • Farheld ang sign
  • For old ang sign
  • For old angsign
  • Foothold and sign
  • For all the aunts of mine
Actually, it's not any of these. On New Year's Eve, the most common song for most English-speaking people to sing is "Auld Lang Syne." Isn't it funny how it's possible to sing and hear a song so many times and have no idea what it means? And wouldn't it be funny if it meant "Big Pink Elephants"?

A good sub-question is, what language is it?

It turns out that "Auld Lang Syne" is an extremely old Scottish song that was first written down in the 1700s. Robert Burns is the person whose transcription got the most attention, so the song is associated with him.

A good translation of the words "auld lang syne" is "times gone by." So when we sing this song, we are saying, "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet for times gone by."

Auld Lang Syne was played by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians as a New Year's Eve song for the first time on December 31, 1929. Though it was played as the band's theme song for years, and it had even occasionally been sung on New Year's Eve, this was the first time that Lombardo's group played it at the Hotel Roosevelt Grill in New York City to usher in the new year. The annual tradition continued when the party moved to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (1959-1976) and the song still kicks off the Times Square celebration every New Year's Eve.


  1. Very interesting Jan ! I never get the words right to any song I try to sing.;)I do love this one.
    Happy New Year !~~Pam

  2. This little gal is very sweet

    happy new year

    barbara jean

  3. That is so interesting. I have always wondered what those words meant & what was the origin of this particular song, now I know! Susan

  4. I knew the proper spelling, but never knew what it actually meant. Thanks for that tidbit of knowledge. Have a safe and wonderful new year.

  5. I have always thought that Auld Lang Syne was a rather sad tune. Thanks for the info on it!

    Sending you the warmest wishes for a happy and wonderful New Year!


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