Tag Archives: Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year Auld Lang Syne – Times Gone By

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

December 31

Auld Lang Syne – Times Gone By

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve,“Auld Lang

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: A 62-58. A Joyful New Year from Newfoundland.

Syne” is a Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in the 1796 edition of the book, Scots Musical Museum. Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area ofScotland, Burns’s homeland.

“Auld Lang Syne” literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.” The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, “For auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet.”

There’s plenty of documentary evidence establishing “Auld Lang Syne” as a Hogmanay favorite since the mid-19th century:

The company joined hands in the great music room at midnight and sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as the last stroke of 12 sounded.
– The New York Times (1896)

It was a Canadian bandleader Guy Lombardo who popularized the song. Lombardo first heard “Auld Lang Syne” in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year’s eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born.

The song became such a New Year’s tradition that “Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived.”

There is  – as with all things –  a Newfoundland connection. The musical Auld Lang Syne was written by Newfoundland born playwright Hugh Abercrombie Anderson. Born in St. John’s , Anderson was the son of  the politician John Anderson.  In 1921 he became manager of a theatrical business in New York  owned by his brother John Murray Anderson. Under the pen name of Hugh Abercrombie he wrote the musical Auld Lang Syne , a musical romance in two acts.  It was used as the theme song in the 1940 movie Waterloo Bridge.

Recommended Video – Sing Along:  St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. New Year’s Eve, 2012.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcwrVifbo4g

 TIMES GONE BY

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

Chorus:
For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For times gone by.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since times gone by.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill drink (of ale)
For times gone by!

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by!

Happy New Year.

I hope that you are enjoying your “Archival Moments”. 

“Good old days of yore”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

December 1912 

Mr. Alex A. Parsons, (1848-1932)  in the St. John’s publication Christmas Bells, 1912 took some time to reflect on Christmas “in the good old days of yore.”  He wrote:

“It seems to me that people of the present day  (1912) do not enter into the spirit of the season as did our ancestors in the “good old days of yore”.  I distinctly remember when the approach of “Yuletide” – as we now call it – was hailed with the greatest enthusiasm by all ages and conditions of men, regardless of their surroundings and circumstances.

Mummering was then our most popular amusement at Christmastide.  This usually began on the afternoon of the Feast of St. Stephen (December 26) , and continued every evening and night till the end of the Old Twelfth Day.  Then, an extraordinary display of fancy and unique dresses by the merry masqueraders, accompanied by brass bands, a big “haul of wood”and other demonstrations of a kindred nature;

J.W. Hayward, 1904

brought this great festival to a close.  Surely there are citizens here in St. John’s today who can readily call to mind that exciting scene when mummers paraded along that thoroughfare from one end of Water Street to the other.

But, within the past few years, these kinds of festivities once appropriate to the day have much fallen off.

 The heart-histories of most people are bound up with the happy memories of Christmas Day.  Christmas in the Home!  Think of it, citizens of Newfoundland!  Think of the Christmas days when you were young:  the pleasant home-coming after school, the skating in the frosting morning, sometimes on the harbor, sometimes on Quidi Vidi Lake, sometimes on Burtons Pond, the children’s parties, the memorable Christmas tree, the presents from and to everybody, the round of dances – what man or woman ever forgets those merry, merry days of Christmas?”

Mr. Alex A. Parsons, (1848-1932)  was editor of the Evening Telegram  (1882-1904); and Superintendent of H.M. Penitentiary (1905 – 1925).

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  All the very best with the challenges and opportunities that will come in the  New Year.

Recommended Archives: Search the online database for descriptions of our archival records and view thousands of digital photographs. – See more at: https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Lost Expression:  Haul of wood:  a co-operative gathering of fuel (wood)  for a clergyman, convent  or school.

Recommended Reading: Jack and the Manger by Andy Jones.  Jack and the Manger retells the story of Jesus’s birth as if it were a Newfoundland folktale. www.runningthegoat.com