Auld Lang Syne: Song Meaning, History, And Why We Sing It On New Year's Eve

By | December 22, 2019

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An onlooker holds a glass of champagne at a New Year's Eve celebration on Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse\City of Sydney/Getty Images)

At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, when the ball drops and the champagne corks pop, you will probably hear the familiar strains of "Auld Lang Syne," the unofficially official song of New Year's Eve. Aside from a handful of the lyrics, though, how much do you actually know about this song? Who wrote "Auld Lang Syne"? What does "auld lang syne" mean? And how did "Auld Lang Syne" become a New Year's Eve song?

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Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland. (

Who Wrote "Auld Lang Syne"?

"Auld Lang Syne" is one of Scotland's greatest gifts to the world. The average American probably doesn't know who wrote it, but if you were to ask any Scotsman on the streets of Edinburgh, he will likely tell you with pride that the lyrics were penned by Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland who lived from 1759 to 1796. But there may be more to the story.