Auld Lang Syne could barely be heard over the din of the New Year’s revellers’ cheers and quiet kisses to loved ones or even total strangers as it swept over North America, chiming in the New Year in four different time zones and memories of past years come to rest and a New Year beginning. Most of us get the chance to do the countdown in anticipation of better times and many of us do party till the wee hours of the new dawn, but have any of us actually understood the song that personifies New Year’s Eve, the original written by no other than Robert Burns? Who, you ask, and what significance does he have with today and tomorrow?

The words seem mystical and yet completely incomprehensible to those besotted and worldly at the stroke of midnight. The world sings this song, but for what cause? We play it endlessly on local radio stations in several different beats and like the mega-millennium-hit Amazing Grace, its tune has carried for more than a century. Yet, the very lyrics are the general theme of our culture, as it does have predictive meaning, sort of like Nostradamus’s so called predictions in quatrains which no one can figure out until after it supposedly happened. They are called predictions, but only recognized after the fact, so what good is it if it can’t warn us of impending dangers or niceties to come? Auld Lang Syne has the same effect; you hear it and say it but don’t understand it.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne!

This is a song to tell you not to forget the past. I think that it means not to forget who you just met and professed your undying love for, before blacking out, only to awake to a New Year hangover. As you look groggily in the mirror, you wonder if they are hickeys or someone’s death strangle hold on your throat, you wonder if the air is real bad, or is it the exhaust emanating from your parched throat and leathery tongue and onto your offended olfactory senses. You wonder if you really did have a good time or a bad time, but who cares at this time of the year?

In the old days, noise was the way and feasting was the pay, in with the new and out with the old, they say. But to many who never had access to a turkey or cake, had their chance with the Roman Catholic Church, who would throw a feast and tsk-tsk those they hadn’t seen in a year. Everyone’s a Catholic on New Year’s Eve, the grizzled Father would say. Also, the winter would start with feasts and more feasts, as a way to stock up and bulk up your body to accommodate January’s cold and today, this tradition is carried on, except for the inconvenience of a cold piece of turkey on a plastic plate, everything remains the same. Not to forget long since. Happy New Year everyone!