The New Year’s Eve song, explained

The New Year’s Eve song, explained

The US associates “Auld Lang Syne” with the New Year, but not everyone does.

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After the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the crowd cheers, couples kiss, confetti flies and the song you hear is “Auld Lang Syne.” For Americans this song is associated with another year passing, but it means something else entirely in other cultures. Since the Scottish poet Robert Burns first published the words to the song in the 18th century, the melody has been adapted as a soccer ballad in the Netherlands, a graduation song in Japan, and more.

This video explains how an obscure Scottish folk tune took on new life around the world and how Guy Lombardo solidified it as the sound the US hears at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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86 Responses

  1. 씨발 says:

    Happy new year to everyone.

  2. How to properly clean your metal computer says:

    See you all next year xd

  3. Jayden Bell says:

    It really sucks when your birthday is today :/

  4. Vox says:

    Here’s our last video of 2018! Happy New Year everyone ?✨✨

  5. Friendship says:

    *My friends:* See you next year bud!

    **sees December 31st and it’s 11:59 pm**

    *Me:* _Man, it’s hurt to be this hip._

  6. ░fuck this shit▓ says:

    I never knew there’s a New Year song

  7. Lucas Soulas says:

    In france it’s “it’s only a goodbye, my brothers” “ce n’est qu’un au revoir, mes frères”

    • Steven Reich says:

      In Germany it’s: “Farewell, my brothers, close the circle, till all will have returned, the future lies in darkness, and weights heavy on our hearts.”

      (Nehmt Abschied Brüder, schließt den Kreis, biss Aller Wiederkehr, die Zukunft liegt in Finsternis, und macht das Herz uns schwer.)

    • Karina Martinez says:

      Yeah it’s also used in French Canadian culture, especially in Scouts and such (I was in Canadian Scouts for a few years myself) but yeah for me too, it’s a more sad song, for goodbyes.

    • Steven Reich says:

      +Karina Martinez I also know it through the scouts here in Germany

    • Oliver Anderson says:

      J’avais pas réalisé que c’était la même chanson

    • Jamaleum says:

      +Steven Reich I know it with “Our return is uncertain/ Ungewiss ist aller Wiederkehr.” in the second vers

  8. Satzz says:

    Auld Lang Syne is by my tiny country Scotland. It’s so great when we see Scotland on a big stage like this!

    • Nathy F. says:

      +Rowan Guy Glad to know that! I hope to visit Scotland next year. Very excited about it ?

    • Joe Genovese says:

      +yakadouloo England’s backyard.

      Try catching an episode of “Yes, Prime Minister”, where a Scots Minister goes to London to meet the UK PM to demand Independence for Scotland.

      The scene ends with the PM promising the Minister that “Not a word shall I breathe of your request to me this evening…… long as I am PM.”

      The PM had earlier got wind of a rebellion among his MP’s pushing for his ouster.

      Here the PM is making a thinly-veiled threat: the promise holds only until I remain PM. So get out, rally the troops in my support, which ultimately means In yours, too.

    • Frank Burns says:


    • Joe Genovese says:

      +xereeto? Is Scotland a member of the UN?

      That’s where a meaningful recognitions comes from.

  9. _Bob McCoy says:

    *_Merry Christmas ya Filthy Animals… and a Happy New Year_*

  10. Alan Smithee says:

    Happy New Year Lieutenant Dan….

  11. ellis says:

    I legit only thought us Scottish people sung this but this is interesting to see

    • Is This Rain? says:

      +James Smith
      WtF dUdE¿

      Do you watch the BBC on NYE? Acting like everyone on Earth subscribes to American media.

    • Mason Campbell says:

      Watch the bbc at midnight you’ll see a million people in London linked arms singing it from all around the world too.

    • James Smith says:

      +Is This Rain? Dude, the BBC YouTube channel has videos of NYE celebrations from around the globe literally at this moment. So, is it so far fetched to think that other countries would be able to see the NYC celebration?

    • Arran Mara says:

      James Smith it’s been a while since I watched the beeb at midnight but don’t they just show shots of about a second with their own sound over it? like why would they show enough to be able to tell who’s playing what in each country? plus, like, it’s a song in Scots in Scotland of course they’d assume it was just them singing it.

      as for missing it when they were in England… most Scots are proper pished by the time midnight rolls around on Hogmanay.

    • Kelsey Lee says:

      My family has sung it every year for as long as I can a matter of fact….I dont know a family who doesnt play this song almost everyone in the US uses this song to ring in the New year! I’m glad to see its origins. I never knew.

  12. thomas Everett says:

    Robert Burns even has his own day in Scotland, were people have an “burns supper” consisting of (the national dish) haggis, Neeps (turnip) and taties (potatoes). Often includes whisky, shortbread traditional songs and dances (as well as Burns Poetry) and most often lots and lots of tartan basically as many stereotypes as you can think of cramped into one night

    • theMoporter says:

      Eh, most people just buy the Burn’s Night supper out of Tesco tbh. We did the meal and nothing else in most everyone I know’s houses, anyway. I grew up in Ayrshire so we were all sick to death of him by the time we grew up.

    • ni ni says:

      There’s a Burn’s night here in Ireland in my city every year in a pub called Bobby Byrnes lol, love the neeps, tatties and haggis! Xx

    • Arran Mara says:

      it’s really funny to hear Burns night be described this way as someone who grew up with it (I grew up in England but have a Scottish dad and now I live here)

    • Georgie Steven says:

      At schools we learn the poems for a Scots verse. I learned all of Tam O’ Shanter last year

    • Jane Andrews says:

      We celebrate Robbie Burns day in Canada too, especially in Nova Scotia.

  13. Kymmze J says:

    Didn’t know there was a “New Year’s Eve Song”.

    *listens to it*

    Oh yea..

  14. Zveebo says:

    In Scotland, it’s sung at the end of a ceilidh (sort of traditional gathering with lots of dancing and drinking), but the sentiment is the same – a warm nostalgia for good times spent with good people – with just a hint of melancholy for the passage of time.

    I’m not very sentimental, but this gets me almost every time.

    • Kylo Kraken says:

      I haven’t been to a ceilidh in years…

    • Victoria Lambert says:

      I’m from the states, but my grandparents were both from Scotland and happened to land in a community that was largely Scottish. I grew up going to ceilidhs, but haven’t been to one in forever.

  15. SlovesL says:

    Auld Lang Syne sounds best with bagpipes.

  16. Danz McNabb says:

    Aye where my Scotts at?

  17. kaguth says:

    I’m going to tak a right-gud willie-waught tonight.

  18. Bolloggfisch says:

    It’s really interesting to see how New Year Eve’s celebrations differ even in the West. In Austria at midnight, every single church bell in the country starts to ring, as in all TVs and radios the Blue Danube Waltz starts playing, and a few chosen dancers dance to it in the former residence of the emperors

  19. Lili Koch says:

    6:18 “even if you don’t know the words” *shows Mariah Carey* LOL

  20. PavarottiAardvark says:

    Ok everyone, we need to get one thing clear:

    The line is “we’ll tak a drop o’ kindness here, for auld lang syne”. it does NOT go “for the SAKE of auld lang syne”

    If you add in the ‘sake’, then you are singing “for the sake of old times sake”, which is nonsense.

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