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What is Auld Lang Syne and why will you be singing it tonight?

Tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet? What?

Source: No Privacy/YouTube

ACROSS THE ENGLISH-speaking world tonight, people will sing Auld Lang Syne to ring in the new year.

Or, more accurately, people will mumble the first two lines of Auld Lang Syne and hope there is someone in the room who knows the words for real.

But what is it and why do we sing it on New Year’s Eve?

In truth, it’s two things. The words are an English translation of a poem recorded by Scottish poet Robert Burns and the melody is an old folk song.

Burns told the Scots Musical Museum that he “took the song down from an old man”, with a version of the song pre-dating Burns’ composition by 77 years.

However, Burns is credited with most of the song.

Singing the song became a tradition on Hogmanay in Scotland, a tradition that spread through the English-speaking world.

The words essentially translate to “long, long ago” or “old times”, so the refrain in the chorus can be read as “for the sake of old times”.

Here are the lyrics, in case you get caught out tonight:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the braes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wander’d many a weary foot,
since the days of auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since the days auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend,
and give a hand of thine,
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

The song has been recorded by countless artists, but Boney M did a Euro disco version that is just perfect.

Source: Sophie Athena/YouTube

Read: Celebrating New Year’s tonight? Here’s what you need to know

Read: The one empty building in the heart of Times Square

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