The song “Auld Lang Syne,” by poet Robert Burns, is traditionally sung at the end of New Year’s Eve gatherings all over the world, especially in English speaking countries. The song is known to be about togetherness and also sad farewells, and it can help to ease the pain of parting with the hope that family members and friends will see each other again soon. This song is a gift from Burns and Scotland, his home country, reminding us of the love and kindness of days gone by, and giving us a sense of hope for the future.
Robert Burns was born in Scotland on January 25, 1759. He was the oldest of seven children born to his mother and father, who was a farmer. When Burns was fifteen years old, he fell in love and soon wrote his first poem. As a young man he continued to pursue poetry writing. In 1788 he penned the poem that turned into the song “Auld Lang Syne.” All of his poems share the traditional Scottish culture, expressions of farm life, and class and religious distinctions. He is also known for writing over 300 songs that celebrate love, friendship, and work.
Although this song is most known for its use on New Years Eve, it is used for many other traditions throughout the world. It is used to symbolize endings and new beginnings, including farewells, funerals/memorials, graduations, the end of Boy Scout gatherings, elections of a new government, and even in retail stores indicating the close of the day. The song has been translated into many different languages and is sung all over the world.
In Scotland, it is used at the end of dances.
In Great Britain, it is played at the close of the annual Conference of the Trades Union Congress.
It is played at the Royal Navy’s Passing Out Parade of Young Officers as they march up the steps of the college, and at many other military parades and colleges.
In Denmark, the song is an important part of their Hojskole tradition, which is a folk school for adults.
In the Netherlands, the melody is best known as a Dutch football song.
In Thailand, the lyrics are set to a familiar melody and the song is sung at the end of sporting events and Boy Scout jamborees.
In Japan, it is played at school graduations and as background music in places such as bars, restaurants, and department stores.
One last interesting fact about this tune is that the melody we sing today is not the one Burns put the original lyrics to. The original melody is still sung by traditional singers, but we usually hear the more trendy and new version in the movies and on the radio. However it is sung, this song is a great tradition of the Scottish people.