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"Auld Lang Syne" Lyrics, Meaning, and Scottish New Year's Food Traditions

Auld Lang Syne lyrics and traditional beef stew

Photo from "Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals," by Eric Akis (Whitecap Books)

At it’s heart, the meaning of “Auld Lang Syne’s” lyrics is a nostalgic remembrance of the past. “Auld Lang Syne” actually means something like “the good old days” or “days gone by. Singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve ranks right up with kissing at midnight and watching the ball drop on TV as the most important American New Year’s Eve tradition. The song comes to us from Scotland like many of the best things in America (like Halloween and the ancestors of both Brooklyn Supper bloggers), where there is a rich tradition of food related gift-giving on New Year’s Eve. Here are some Scottish-inspired New Year’s traditions for you to try this year and the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” to get you started.

new year's shortbread
“First-footing” is a Scottish tradition where people visit friends at the New Year, being the first foot to cross their friend’s doorstep in the New Year. To bring good luck, the first-footer brings a gift of whiskey and shortbread. I know we wouldn’t say no to a gift of whiskey and if you want to make shortbread, Shaina has a great recipe here.

new years beef stew

In Glasgow, New Year’s traditions include making a beef pie or stew. I think a hearty beef stew is an excellent way to get the year off to a great start. Julie has an excellent beef stew from the cookbook, Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals, by Eric Akis (Whitecap Books), here. Or, you could keep with the boozy theme of New Year’s and make carbonnade, a beef and beer stew.

Now that you have a gift for your friends and a full stomach, you just need to sing “Auld Lang Syne” and you’re all set for a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Here are the lyrics, in case you’ve forgotten:

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind ?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my jo,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

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