The Superior Express -

Auld Lang Syne

 

December 31, 2020



This evening, Thursday, Dec. 31, at gatherings the world over, many will raise a glass and sing these familiar words “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” They are the first line of a poem-song written by Robert Burns in 1788 and commonly called Auld Lang Syne.

Auld Lang Syne was originally written in the 18th-century Scot language spoken by Burns. Some of the lyrics, such as “we twa hae run about the braes.” (we two have run about the hillsides) are rather incomprehensible to English speakers today.

Other phrases like “tak a cup o’kindness” are more understandable and simply mean to share a drink or toast with friends. The three words “auld lang syne” translate to “old long since” and mean something akin to “old times.”

The poem, according to the bard himself, was based on an “old song” of antiquity. The words were and are sung to an old Scottish folk tune.

Burns, a poet recognized around the world, is known as the National Bard or the National Poet of Scotland. He established himself as a beloved national figure before his untimely death in 1796. January 25 is a Scottish National Holiday, honoring Robert Burns.

So, if your celebration of the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 involves singing Auld Lang Syne, you now know a bit more about the song. To be etymologically correct, remember that in the Scottish language “syne” is pronounced with an “ess” sound and not a “zee.”

 

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