Is it just another New Years' Eve? Or is it something special?

Is it just another New Year’s Eve? Or is it something special?  I remember from any early age when we moved into our new home and my parents hosted a New Years' Eve Party.  

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and neighbors gathered to celebrate the end of the old year and beginning of the new.  We all wore festive party hats adorned with glitter or fun shapes and sizes. Everyone all had noise makers, horns, and confetti waiting on our countdown to midnight.  

As the moment approached I remember the vinyl records were prepped for the record player with one record only played once a year.  This was my introduction to Guy Lombardo.  My Granddad did the honors of having the record ready which was "Auld Lang Syne".  I remember the adults singing, some with smiles, and some with tears running down a cheek, but all happy at the stroke of midnight with confetti ready, much to the delight of the little ones, we proudly tossed in the air.

As we celebrate the passing of yet another year, many are sure to make a toast and mumble the lines of “Auld Lang Syne” and not know what the song really means.

 The Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

Somehow the Songs of New Year’s Eve seem sad as we reflect on the passing year. Are we sad it's over?  Barry Manilow’s It’s just another New Years’ Eve make reference to the Robert Burn’s Poem of 1788.  Burn’s wrote Auld Lang Syne 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 old times' sake', and the song is all about preserving old friendships, looking back over the events of the year, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia, thoughts of mistakes we made, our regrets, and hope for the future.   

The Ancient Song is a much-loved Scottish tradition loved by many. As Scots immigrated around the world, they took traditions to remember Scotland and the days gone by.  Eventually North America translated Burns’ dialect into the common lyrics we know today which were made famous in part by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, who performed the song on New Year’s Eve from 1939 until about 1977. It is Lombardo’s version the world hears after the ball drops in Times Square every New Year’s Eve.

As the Guy Lombardo era came to end in 1977, Dick Clark introduced Barry Manilow’s New Year’s Eve song as a time to reflect on the past and look forward.  While the Manilow song seems very sad, the message in the lyrics of both songs offer a time for us to reflect, learning from our mistakes, move on from the past, take victory in our success, and celebrate friendships. Some of the old year we carry forward, and some we leave behind with our regrets which could be reflected in the sadness.   

But what does Auld Lang Syne Mean….it means “for old times’ sake”.  So as clock strikes midnight to signal the passing of just another New Year’s Eve, let’s not fake our way through a song we should all know and love. Sing the Song Loud and Proud, replace the words “Auld Lang Syne” with “for old times’ sake”, grab someone’s hand, toast a cup of cheer.

The Guy Lombardo version is below with a bolded first verse and chorus (as that’s the only part anyone ever tries to sing.) Happy New Year, and here’s to Auld Lang Syne!

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne?



For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.


And surely, you’ll buy your pint cup!

and surely, I’ll buy mine!

And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.




We two have run about the slopes,

and picked the daisies fine;

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,

since auld lang syne.




We two have paddled in the stream,

from morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

since auld lang syne.




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 auld lang syne.



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