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Auld Lang Syne: The history and lyrics of the traditional New Year's tune

CNN logo CNN 12/31/2020 By Kendall Trammell, CNN
fireworks in the night sky: Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January 1, 2017 © DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January 1, 2017

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, voices all over the world will resurrect the centuries-old tradition of singing "Auld Lang Syne" to say goodbye to the passing year.

"Auld Lang Syne" -- which roughly translates to "times gone by"-- was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788 and is thought to have been based on a Scottish folk song.

Despite efforts to belt the tune every New Year's Eve, few people seem to actually know the words.

Don't get caught pretending to mouth the words at New Year's Eve this year. Luckily for you, we've put the lyrics below so you can serenade yourself and all your friends into the New Year.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne.

CHORUS

For auld lang syne, my jo,

For auld lang syne.

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!

And surely I'll be mine!

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes

And pu'd the gowans fine

But we've wander'd mony a weary foot

Sin auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn

Frae mornin' sun till dine.

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!

And gie's a hand o' thine!

And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,

For auld lang syne.

REPEAT CHORUS

Should old acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And long, long ago.

REPEAT CHORUS

And for long, long ago, my dear

For long, long ago.

We'll take a cup of kindness yet

For long, long ago.

And surely youll buy your pint-jug!

And surely I'll buy mine!

And we'll take a cup of kindness yet

For long, long ago.

REPEAT CHORUS

We two have run about the hills

And pulled the daisies fine;

But we've wandered manys the weary foot

Since long, long ago.

REPEAT CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,

From morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

Since long, long ago.

REPEAT CHORUS

And there's a hand, my trusty friend!

And give us a hand of yours!

And we'll take a deep draught of good-will

For long, long ago.

REPEAT CHORUS

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