"Auld Lang Syne
" is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns
in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song . It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Scouting movement in many countries uses it to close jamborees and other functions. The poems's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times". The tune to which "Auld Lang Syne" is commonly sung is a pentatonic Scots folk melody, probably originally a sprightly dance in a much quicker tempo. English composer William Shield seems to quote the "Auld Lang Syne" melody briefly at the end of the overture to his opera Rosina'
, which may be its first recorded use.