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Auld Lang Syne? What Does It Mean?

New Year’s Eve is one of those love-it-or-hate-it holidays and odds are you’re going to hear “Auld Lang Syne” at least 500 times. Our guess is that folks simply want to know what the song actually means. After all, it’s not often that people belt out a tune that they don’t really understand. Well here’s the scoop on the song that is mandatory for one night every year compliments of Yahoo Shine.

According to the good people at TLC, the song is an “extremely old Scottish song that was first written down in the 1700s.” The poet Robert Burns often gets credit for the words.

Or at least some of them. People often belt out their own lyrics. A site dedicated to the great poet explains, “In spite of the popularity of ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ it has aptly been described as ‘the song that nobody knows.’ As for the the music, it’s more of a traditional folk song.”

So, what do the words actually mean? Basically, the words “auld lang syne” translate into “for days past,” “days gone by,” or “for the sake of old times,” depending on whom you ask. But no matter what the literal translation is, the sentiment is the same. It’s a song that aims to honor the good old days on a night that’s all about ringing in the new.

Want to print your own copy of the lyrics so you can sing the real words at the stroke of midnight? Check out RobertBurns.org, and let incorrect lyrics be forgot…

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