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 take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
Robbie Burns (from a 1711 folksong)
Happy Hogamany or New Years to non-Scots! (A serendipitous aside to my New Year’s musings: Imagine my surprise to find this translation with an odd connection to me, my jo. When I looked up this song for this post, I learned that “jo” means dear, a Scottish term of affection, so appropriate, then, for my Scots-English husband’s use of my nickname all these long years without knowing this!)
But back to this tradition – I don’t know if you have sung this song before and wondered at its meaning. I have. My daughter and I re-watched “When Harry Met Sally” over the Christmas Holiday and at the end Harry wonders, “My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances or does it mean if we happened to forget them we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?” Sally tells him that it is about old friends. Wikipedia tells us that auld lang syne means “old long since” or more commonly in the song, “for the sake of old times.”
I love New Years. The end of the old year, the beginning of the new. I always have enjoyed the reviews of the years events and acknowledgement of those who have died. What could be better than having a means of letting go of things, especially the negative, the things that bind or hurt us, combined with the embrace of future possibilities?
In the family I grew up in and with our children, New Year’s Eve was a time to play games and have goodies to share. It was a time to relax and laugh and just enjoy our family without any pressure or expectations. We’d open the door at midnight and blow horns and kiss those we loved and remember those we’d lost. Bittersweet. Then, bed and waking to a new year filled with unknown opportunities. A perfect holiday. Pathos and hope without the need for wrapping paper or a bow.
For my mom, New Year’s Day was a time for friends to drop by for a glass of New Year’s cheer. She loved the chance to visit and entertain, to tell funny stories of times gone by and be teased in turn with stories of her own misadventures.
In recent years, we’ve had friends in for New Year’s and enjoyed laughing over Farkle. Friends, old and new, do seem to sweeten this event, and though this year, with Doug prepping for surgery, we will just toast with each other, remembrances of friends, old and new, separated but not forgotten, will no doubt bring thoughts of many of you to mind.
“And there’s a hand, my trusty friend, and give me a hand of thine, we’ll take a right good-willy draught for days of auld lang syne.” A toast to each and every one of you, family and friends, none ever forgotten, for a New Year of joy, peace, wonderment, forgiveness, hope and love. Happy New Years!