Shortly after midnight on January 1, millions of people around the
world will sing a Scottish song to usher in the change of the calendar.
The tune, Auld Lange Syne, is credited to Scottish poet and
author Robert Burns, who is often described as the unofficial national
poet of Scotland.
Scholars believe that Burns adapted a song melody and lyrics that
were already in use, but he certainly popularized the term (which
translates to “old time’s sake).
The tradition of singing the song at midnight as New Year’s Eve
turns into the new year probably can be credited to band leader Guy
Lombardo, whose band performed it live each year from 1929 to 1977,
In 2009, on the 250th anniversary of Burns’ birth, the Royal Mint
honored the poet by showing some of the lyrics on the reverse of the
ringed bimetallic £2 coin.
In 2009, Clydesdale Bank promoted Burns to the £10 note, ending his appearance on the £5 note
that began in 1971.
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