Auld Lang Syne, the poem by Robert Burn written in 1788, has now become one of the symbols to embrace the new year. In Scotland in particular, this song about ‘old long since’, ‘old time past’ is sung when midnight strikes. Most people would also cross their arms when singing it, though the Queen preferred not to do so in 1999. No one knows exactly why arms have to be crossed and got pulled so uncomfortably, but again, it seems to be the ‘custom’ that most people just follow without questioning, just like people would respond with the silly horse riding dance once the music of Gangnam Style is played. It seems there’s something so spontaneous about Auld Lang Syne with arm-crossing.
I first learnt to sing the Chinese version of Auld Lang Syne when I was 12 years old. Our headmaster taught all Yr 6 students this song through the tannoy in our classroom. There are many Chinese versions of this renowned song, and the version, a popular and classic one, I was taught was called ‘Long Live Friendship.’ （友谊万岁).
The lyrics go: “Who would ever forget their good friends? Once you’ve parted, you’ll sure remember them fondly. Good friends will not be forgotten; friendship is as vast as the earth and sky. Let’s raise our glasses and sing in harmony; long live friendship.”
Auld Lang Syne — its Chinese version — is normally sung at schools’ leaving assembly, from kindergarten to college. Children would sing and cry their eyes out and be overwhelmed by sadness. In Asia, This song is also commonly played at funerals too. Every time I hear this piece of music, sorrow overcomes me.
You can have a taste of this Chinese version here:
Tomorrow I’m going to share with you another renowned farewell song in Chinese.
English-translated version of the Auld Lang Syne lyrics:
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.
I love your blog- I learn so much! Learn much about this country- feel I should know some of this! Look forward to 2013 and being enriched by visiting your blog ! Thanks xx
Thank you for such a lovely comment, Keren. I’ve learnt new things each day and I try not to lose my sensitivity in observing my everyday life in this beautiful country.
I enjoy your posts, your beautiful and elegant cards are always a joy to appreciate.
I wish you a happy new year to you and your family.
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May the coming year be filled with happiness, the wisdom of dear friends, and the pleasure of continuous learning. Enjoy the birth of a new year, Janet.
Confucius said in his famous analects: 学而时习之，不亦说乎 — it can be interpreted as: Isn’t it a great pleasure to learn and apply what you have learnt in your life? I refer this to your ‘pleasure of continuous learning’. Thank you, Shimon.
It is great to hear and see these cute Chinese children singing this song! Thanks for sharing. Happy new year!
Thank you, friendlytm. These kids are cute, but normally when we sang this song, we were full of tears, unlike these innocent children who hadn’t quite appreciate the concept of departure yet. I hope you enjoy this different take of Auld Lang Syne. I wish you a Happy New Year too.
You are right. They should be singing in tears! But they are kids! They don’t have reason to be emotional in this case. Thanks for sharing.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your family!
Thank you, sharechair. I also wish you the best for the New Year, and look forward to your insightful posts about gadgets, tips and cool technology. You’re well above me in all these areas, and I’ve got too much to learn from you. Thank you for all the tips you have shared with us.
Many people get emotional when they hear this song.
I love that the Queen always does her own thing. One of the most-watched women in the world and she is her own person. We should all follow suit 🙂
Happy New Year! I look forward to learning more about Chinese customs from your blog in 2013.
I totally agree with you on the Queen. I read somewhere that actually the Queen was right not to cross her arms. I have short arms, and I don’t think I’d enjoy crossing arms while trying to remember the words.
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