New Year’s Eve: What are the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne?

Joe Sommerlad

Auld Lang Syne” is sung on the stroke of midnight every 31 December to ring in the New Year.

The song sets words written by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788 to a traditional folk tune, its title translating into standard English as “old long since”, meaning “long ago”.

“Auld Lang Syne” is also belted out at Hogmanay, at the end of ceilidhs, weddings, Burns Night suppers, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Last Night of the Proms.

Perhaps the most affecting assessment of its meaning comes at the end of Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally (1989), when Billy Crystal questions its sentiment and Meg Ryan replies simply: “It’s about old friends.”

If you’re too well refreshed to remember the lyrics on the big night, or were never really sure of them in the first place, here they are in full:

‘Auld Lang Syne’ (1788)


Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And old lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!

And surely I’ll buy mine!

And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,

And picked the daisies fine;

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,

Since auld lang syne.



We two have paddled in the stream,

From morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

Since auld lang syne.



And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll take a right good-will draught,

For auld lang syne.


This article was originally published on 31 December 2018