For Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year, friends! Wow, I can’t believe 2018 is almost here. Another year. A new beginning. A fresh start. A blank page to write upon.

What will you write on your page this year?

A decorated latte sitting on a table next to a journal and pen.

Every year when the clock strikes midnight, people around the globe jubilantly ring in the new year by singing “Auld Lang Syne.” I wonder, though, how many of us actually know what we are singing about or where the song originated. I’m reminded of the humorous exchange between Billy Crystal’s and Meg Ryan’s character at the end of one of my favorite movies – “When Harry Met Sally.”

Harry: [about Auld Lang Syne] What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?

Sally: Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends.

-from “When Harry Met Sally”, 1989

Roughly translated ‘for old times’ sake’ or ‘days gone by,’ “Auld Lang Syne” is about preserving old friendships, raising a glass, and looking back with nostalgia over the events of the year. It’s a celebration of the moment and gives us hope for the future. Joy, kinship, and camaraderie – even melancholy and regret – are just some of the feelings I think this song has the power to invoke. Such is the power of music.

Auld Lang Syne sheet music resting on the keys of a piano.
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