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What the Heck Is "Auld Lang Syne" About?

By December 31, 2012

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Auld Lang SyneSometime in 1788, a Scottish poet named Robert Burns wrote a poem about friendship and attached it to an old Scottish folk song melody. True to the traditional folk process, Burns borrowed a few lines from an even older poem by a fellow named James Watson. Fast-forward a couple of centuries, and folks clear across an ocean - many without a single drop of Scottish blood in them - have a strong and deep-seated tradition of singing this old Scottish tune at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

How did this song get to America? Why is it so embedded in our culture? And what is it even about, anyway? Check out this brief folk song history of "Auld Lang Syne" and then enjoy your holiday.

I wish you all a 2013 full of laughter, surprises, comfort, and peace. Happy new year!

photo: Getty Images

Comments

January 1, 2013 at 10:24 am
(1) Sarah says:

Happy new year to you too, Kim! Thanks for all the interesting folk news in 2012.

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