Music

Here Are the Actual Lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne" for Those of You Confused AF on New Year's Eve

It’s almost 2020, which means the time has come to say goodbye to the literal clusterf*ck that was 2019 and start a clean slate. Of course, not before gathering around the family piano—by which I mean your iPhone—for a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne!”

The Scottish folk song is traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, and let’s be honest: most of us have no idea what the hell we’re even singing. Truly I just mumble and hope for the best. But this year, ya might as well impress your friends by actually knowing the lyrics when everyone inevitably busts out singing in a drunken frenzy at midnight, right?

First Up, Let’s Listen to It

“Auld Lang Syne” is famous for soundtracking It’s a Wonderful Life, so hit play and settle in for some cozy feels:

The track is also famous (to me) for its cameo in the Sex and the City movie, which I refuse to apologize for sharing here, DEAL WITH IT:

A Little Background on the Song

The exact origins of “Auld Lang Syne” are unknown, but according to a letter from 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns, it’s an “old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man.”

Cool-cool-cool, so what I’m getting is that it’s old.

So, What Are the *Actual* Lyrics?

Here ya go:

The above two verses are typically the ones sung on New Year’s Eve because everyone is too wasted to remember the entire song. But in case you’re wondering, this is what happens next:

Soooo, What Does “Auld Lang Syne” Mean?

It loosely translates to “old long since.” Or “days gone by,” if you will. Or “for old time’s sake,” if you prefer. Basically, it evokes a sense of nostalgia and friendship about being with the ones you love at the start of a new year! I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Just FYI that the English version typically changes “auld” to “old” in the first line, and “my jo” is often replaced “my dear.” In other words, it goes:

This has been my Ted Talk. Happy New Year!

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