What does "auld lang syne" really mean?
The lyrics as we know them were written as a poem in 1788 by Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns. However Burns noted it was an old ballad, and he "took it down" from a man who was singing it.
The earliest reference to the well-known lines comes from the 15th century. However the best-known written connection to Burns' work was a poem published in 1711 called "Old Longsyne" and attributed to either Sir Robert Aytoun or Francis Sempill.
The old Scots dialect can make the lyrics difficult to understand and remember. Even in Scotland, many people don't get the words right. It's the thought behind the song that really matters -- remembering old friendships in the new year.
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