Every New Year, HH Priya Nath dutifully played the famous international New Year’s Song on the piano:
“Olde Lang Zyne”
Shri Nathji used to say to Sudha:
“Today, at this time, at various places in the world, where the New Year has dawned, this tune is being played!”
It was Shri Nathji’s way of blessing the world through the New Year’s song of Olde Lang Zyne.
The words of the song have a spiritual significance for Priya Nath and fill him with an infinite amount of sadness:
“Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind…”
It reminded Priya Nath of what Shri Nathji would say about the fleeting nature of time:
“This year is very old, it has come after the passing away of millions of years, since the world was created! Today the old year has gone into the eternity of the past, mingling into the millions of years that have passed. With so much behind it and so much more to come after it, let us treat the New Year with respect!”
As Shri Nathji had written in his famous book, “The First Rays of Dawn” for the first of January of every year:
“Today is the beginning of a New Year. We have with us the remembrance of the days gone by, and before us, the years to come. And we can only wait and hope. The good deeds that have been left undone must now be completed; the bad deeds that we have been in the habit of doing, must now be renounced.
“The eyes that have opened to the light of the Sun, must see not only this Universe, but also that vast ocean in which it exists, like a tiny bubble, trembling, ever trembling, with a fearful consciousness of its own doom. We must relinquish hold of pride, and, with the beginning of this New Year, bow our heads before the Creator.”
"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scots 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 celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight.
The song's Scots title may be translated into English literally as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by" or "old times".
Robert Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, "The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man."
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 (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) 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.
The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships.
“Auld Lang Syne" is traditionally sung at the conclusion of New Year gatherings in Scotland and around the world, especially in English-speaking countries. It is common practice that everyone joins hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbour on the left and vice versa. When the tune ends, everyone rushes to the middle, while still holding hands. When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.
By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.
Auld Lang Syne has been translated into many languages, and the song is widely sung in many parts of the world. The following particular examples mostly detail things that are special or unusual about the use of the song in a particular country. For example in India, the melody was the direct inspiration for the popular Bengali song "Purano shei diner kotha" (Memories of the Good Old Days) composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, and forms one of the more recognisable tunes in Rabindra Sangeet .
This song can be heard with lyrics at the following page -