Tag Archives: Happy New Year

Auld Lang Syne – Times Gone By

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

Auld Lang Syne – Times Gone By

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

The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang 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 of Scotland.

“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 take a cup o’ kindness yet.”

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

The New Times reported in 1896:   “The company joined hands in the great music room at midnight and sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as the last stroke of 12 sounded.”

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 “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.

New Year’s Eve Countdown & Fireworks : When the clock strikes midnight  tonight, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador  are the first in North America to celebrate the New Year.

Pet owners are reminded that the noise associated with ‘gun fire’ and ‘fireworks’ will likely be a frightening experience for your pet – please attend to your pets, most pets would prefer to be inside during the fireworks display.

 

While standing with friends tonight singing  Auld Lang Syne  pull out this posting and sing along !!

 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”. 

An invitation: The tradition of the New Year’s Levee

Archival Moment

JANUARY 1, 1915

On January 1, 1915 Governor Walter Edward Davidson of Newfoundland made reference in his private diary to the tradition of the New Year’s Day Levee in St. John’s. He wrote

We received from 3:00 – 6:00 o’clock. It has been an ancient custom for men to call on their lady friends on New Year’s Day. It is dying out but 236 called here. It is usual for them to call also on the Roman Catholic Archbishop and the Anglican Bishop .”

The “ancient custom for men to call on their lady friends on New Year’s Day”  that Davidson referred to in his diary has disappeared in Newfoundland but the tradition of the levee has survived.

This levee was a reception that was held early in the afternoon of New Years Day, typically at the residence of the host.  Attending these levees was an annual ritual in the town.

The first recorded Levée in Canada was held on January 1st, 1646 in the Château St. Louis by Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of New France (later Québec).  In addition to shaking hands and wishing a Happy New Year to citizens presenting themselves at the Château, the Governor informed guests of significant events in the Mother Country, as well as the state of affairs within the colony.  This tradition is carried on today within The Commonwealth in the form of The Queen’s New Year’s Message.

The Levée tradition was continued by British Colonial Governors in Canada, and subsequently by Governors General and Lieutenant Governors, and continues to the present day.

INVITATION:  Her Honour The Honourable Judy M. Foote, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and His Honour Howard W. Foote, invite you to join them at Government House for the traditional New Year’s Levee.  Tuesday, January 1, 2019 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.

 

 

 Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives take some time to read Governor Walter Davidson’s Private Diary. MG 136.5

The first Christmas cards arrive in Newfoundland

ARCHIVAL MOMENTS


December 2018

The local St. John’s newspaper the Evening Telegram in an article on December 25, 1883 suggests that the first Christmas card was not introduced into Newfoundland until after 1868.  The newspaper reported:

“Even in the celebration of Christmas, what vast changes and improvements has Terra Nova seen within these fifteen years!  A  ‘Christmas Card’  was then (1868) utterly unknown, now what millions of them pass from ‘hand to hand’, wafting with pretty colors and gracious sentiments, the very spirit of the grand old season.”

The tradition of sending commercial Christmas cards can be traced to 1843. A gentleman by the name of Sir Henry Cole had several problems that he was trying to resolve.

In the 1840’s Christmas cards were very expensive; they were individually painted and delivered by hand. Henry did not want to have to contend with the expense and he especially disliked the idea of writing a personal greeting to each person. He also wanted the message on his Christmas cards to bring attention to the importance of supporting the destitute during the Christmas season

Then the answer came. It was a marriage of art and technology.

Sir Henry commissioned artist John Calcott Horsley to paint a card showing the feeding and clothing of the poor. It was a triptych with scenes on each of the side panels depicting the charitable essence of Christmas; feeding the poor and clothing the homeless. In the center was the message “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To You” under a colorful drawing of a family celebrating, their wine glasses raised in a toast.

Sir Henry had good intentions, but his Christmas card design, showing a child enjoying a sip of wine, was described as “fostering the moral corruption of children.”

Eighteen of the original 1000 cards printed  are known to be still in existence, one of which recently changed hands at auction for around $40,000.

Originally the custom  was not to post the Christmas Card but rather cards were passed from “hand to hand.”

Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division take some time to look at MG 63.356 – MG 63- 358 these files consist 125 Christmas cards produced by the International Grenfell Association.

The Rooms:   The Rooms is dressed for Christmas  – come and see our Christmas trees.

Send me a Christmas Card:   9 Bonaventure Ave. (P.O. Box 1800) St. John’s ,NL . A1C 5P9   –  include some suggestions for Archival Moments.