Todd Wong on CBC Radio One December 31st – Traditions of singing Auld Lyne Syne for New Year's Eve.

Why do we sing Auld Lang Syne at New Year's Eve?

Todd Wong
be heard today on CBC Radion One 690 AM – ON THE COAST. 3-6pm

They
asked me about the origins of singing “Auld Lang Syne” – the Robert
Burns lyrics connection and the proper way of holding hands while
singing. Of course I threw in similarities between Scottish Hogmannay
and Chinese New Year – such as making lots of noise and paying off your
debts.

They asked if I will be with friends ringing in the New Year. I said I
am at Silver Star in Vernon, with good friends… including Craig Brown
who was at my 1st Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, when the only “kilts” we
had were Canadian Mackinkaw lumberjack shirts tied around our waists…

Origins of singing Auld Lang Syne in North America are traced back to a Scottish tradition that spread through Scottish and British emmigration.

Wikipedia writes:

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom
that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and
other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo
is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year’s
celebrations in America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and
television, beginning in 1929. The song became his trademark. In
addition to his live broadcasts, Lombardo recorded the song more than
once. His first recording was in 1939. A later recording on September
29, 1947 was issued as a single by Decca Records as catalog #24260

Wikipedia's entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne
also compares the 1711 version of Old Long Syne by James Watson to the 1788 version of Scots verse by Robert Burns.

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