Auld Lang What?

Season 10
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A man sits at a table wearing a black hat and suit and holding up a glass of champagne.

It’s a song we often hear at the start of the new year. But what does “auld lang syne” even mean? And how did it come to be associated with New Year's Eve? With a little musical sleuthing, we find Charlie Chaplin might have something to do with it.



James Deutsch, curator of folklife and popular culture at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Smithsonian Links:

  • Take a tour through versions of “Auld Lang Syne” from years gone by with selections heard in this episode:
  • Stay in the holiday spirit with our season nine episode, A Very Merry Sidedoor which explores the origins of seasonal traditions like kissing under the mistletoe, figgy pudding, and watch night.

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