In the final scene of Nora Ephron’s iconic 1989 romantic comedy, “When Harry Met Sally,” the couple kiss as “Auld Lang Syne” begins to play. It doesn’t take long before Billy Crystal’s Harry starts pestering Meg Ryan’s Sally about the meaning of the song. “Should we forget old knowledge…does that mean we should forget old knowledge or does it mean that if we forget it we should remember it? he asks.
Ryan responds, “Well, maybe that just means we should remember that we forgot about them or something. Either way, they’re old friends.”
For those unfamiliar with the song or movie, every New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight and the calendar moves to the next year, people around the world often join in the chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.”
If you’re having trouble remembering the lyrics – or even understanding them – you’re probably not alone. Here’s what you need to know about the famous song.
Who wrote “Auld Lang Syne?” »
The song was written centuries ago and contains words that we would normally never use in the United States today.
The lyrics were recorded in a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788, although he noted that the song had already been circulating for years before he wrote it down.
Although there are varying stories about the song’s origin, David Hopes, director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Scotland, previously told the USA TODAY Network in 2014 that Burns adapted an earlier version written by the Scottish poet Allan Ramsay. The museum displays Burns’ “improved” version alongside Ramsay’s version, he said.
The song’s fame in North America is likely due to Guy Lombardo, whose orchestra played it on his radio and television broadcasts every New Year’s Eve from 1929 to 1977, Hopes said.
What does “Auld Lang Syne” mean?
The phrase “auld lang syne” translates directly from the Scots language into modern English as “long old”, but can be interpreted in practice as “of olden times, especially times fondly remembered » or an “old or long friendship”, according to the dictionary. .com.
If you feel like you’re getting teary-eyed and sentimental while singing, it might not just be the champagne. The phrase evokes feelings of nostalgia, including memories of good times spent with friends.
The opening lines of the song – “Should you forget an old acquaintance and never think about it?” – reminds us to cherish the good memories we’ve already had, which makes the message ideal for New Year’s Eve party.
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Lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne”
The full, original lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” go much further than what is normally sung at New Year’s Eve parties in the United States, where only the first verse and chorus are normally sufficient. They are as follows:
Should an old acquaintance be forgotten and never brought up? Should an old acquaintance be forgotten and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we will have one more cup of kindness, for auld lang syne.
Contributor: Jay Cannon
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