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Knowing the “Auld Lang Syne” Meaning Can Change the Way You Sing It

Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish ballad from 1788 that reminds everyone of New Year’s Eve. Since the song is not really in English, many people don’t understand it. But that’s understandable because it’s based on the language spoken by the 18th-century Scots.

Milena Lazova
Milena Lazova

A lot of people sing the popular Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve without even knowing what it means. The song has become popular around the world, especially in English-speaking countries, where people are belting out the Scottish ballad despite the odd syntax and unfamiliar words.

But knowing the meaning of Auld Lang Syne meaning can help you understand what the composer is singing about and feel exactly what they felt. And believe us, you’ll definitely like the feeling!

Why People Have Trouble Understanding the Auld Lang Syne Meaning

Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish ballad from 1788 that reminds everyone of New Year’s Eve. Since the song is not really in English, many people don’t understand it. But that’s understandable because it’s based on the language spoken by the 18th-century Scots.

So this is not the Scottish-accented English spoken today, which has similarities to English, hence the trouble understanding it. Since the most popular phrase of the song, “auld lang syne,” is not in English, you’ll have to know the “auld lang syne” translation to understand its meaning.

What does “Auld Lang Syne” mean?

The literal translation of this old Scottish phrase is “old long since.” However, it has a deeper meaning which is “days gone by” or, even better, “the good old times.” This means the song is about old friends who catch up after a long time and reminisce about the good old days while enjoying a drink or two.

As one YouTube commenter describes the song, it’s about not throwing away past friendships and connections you’ve made with people you’ve shared joy and hardship with because of the passage of time and growth in the distance.

It’s a great song that reminds you to celebrate life together for old times’ sake and make another happy memory.

Auld Lang Syne—Origin and popularity

The “auld lang syne” phrase was first sung by Scotts in 1588, but it was not until 1788 that it came in print. The Scottish poet Robert Burns published the song after taking it from an old man and embellishing it with new verses, creating the original version.

The song has quickly become part of the New Year’s Eve tradition in Scotland, and as natives immigrated around the world, it became popular in other regions as well. When it reached North America, people translated the Scottish dialect into the lyrics we all know today.

The North-American version became popular thanks to the Royal Canadian band leader who performed it every New Year’s Eve for decades. It’s how it became a global phenomenon.

Today, you can hear it after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve in Time Square, New York, in Christmas movies, and any New Year’s celebration in the English-speaking world.

Now that you know the meaning of “auld lang syne,” you will enjoy it on a whole new level.

English

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.


Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.

Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.