Au Revoir, 2009…

December 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

© Northern Rockies Lodge

Here at Be Sweet it’s not always knit, knit, knit, yarn, yarn, yarn. Ok, for a lot of the time it is, but today had us pondering over what the heck “auld lang syne” means?

Upon further investigation (and yes, we know this has nothing to do with knitting, unless perhaps you’re standing around a New Year’s party knitting and singing Auld Lang Syne) we found that pretty much no one knows what this phrase means. Heck, we sing it every year. We hum it in the elevator a few days after New Year’s is over.  We take our cup of kindness dear and drink to auld langs syne. So, what exactly is it we’re drinking to?

Here at Be Sweet we feel it’s our duty, nay, our honor to clear things up. So grab your knitting or crocheting and prepare to be enlightened. Auld lang syne is a Scottish poem written down by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many English-speaking (and other) countries and is often sung by to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, its use has also become common at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The song’s Scots title may be translated into English literally as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago” or “times gone by”. The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase “In the days of auld lang syne” as the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language. There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used both in Scotland and in the rest of the world. Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of times gone by ?

For times gone by , my dear,
for times gone by ,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for times gone by .

And surely you’ll buy your drink!
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for times gone by .


We two have run about the hills,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since times gone by .


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dinner-time ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since times gone by .


And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand of yours !
And we’ll take a right good-will Drink,
for times gone by .


There now, don’t you feel smarter already?

Grab your glass of champagne or sparkling cider in one hand, your knitting needles or crochet hook in the other, raise them both in the air and commit to making 2010 a year of fabulous knit or crocheted garments, a commitment to trying new fibers, new colors, new techniques and taking some new crafty classes.

From our home to yours, we wish you the very best of new years and hope that 2010 is a year that’s good to us all.

Happy new year.


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