Auld Lang Syne
December 31, 2011 by staff
Auld Lang Syne, On the eve of New Year 2012, it is estimated that more than 100 million people across the world will play, sing or hum a Scottish song that is more than 200 years old, the most sung song in the world: Auld Lang Syne.
It was originally introduced into Canada by the Scot traders who founded the North West Company.
Although credited to the world’s most celebrated poet, Robert Burns, in fact he revised the lyrics from an ancient poem compiled by George Bannatyne in 1568. I discovered this while completing some research in 2008 at Alloway, Burns’s birthplace in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Burns recognized the poem’s inherent message of friendship and reunion, and translated the ancient Scots language into a world poem. He later composed its music. Ironically it did not get widely published until December 1796, five months after his death.
The lyrics reflect life in Scotland at that time. The average lifespan was 53 years, many lived in abject poverty and clan land conflicts produced mixed loyalties.
The original poem had seven stanzas, but its melody and lyrics are recognized around the world as a symbol of friendship and have been used as a musical backdrop in many Hollywood movies.
On New Year’s Eve in Canada and around the world, millions of people will ring in the New Year with a song written about friendship and peace in 1788.
John Lennon was an admirer of Burns and his poetical themes of peace, personal freedom, liberty and small government.
Burns and Lennon were surely made of the same cloth. The world needs to hear their message.
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