A Brief History
On January 1, 2021, we take New Year’s Day to reflect on the fact that January 1st, although it is now celebrated as the beginning of the new year each year in virtually all of the western civilizations of the world today, is by no means the universal harbinger of a new year.
We find that this particular day was not always when people celebrated the new year in Europe as well as other parts of the world. Various European countries started using January 1st as New Year’s Day in a hap-hazard manner between the 15th and the 18th centuries! Even the date marking the new year varied from country to country, sometimes with a date like March 25th considered as starting a new year, probably because of the connection to the Spring “rebirth” of the earth.
By far, the most well-known song associated with bringing in the New Year is “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns who lived and died in Scotland in the 1700s. The song continues to be sung around the world in the twenty-first century on every January 1st, especially in English-speaking countries.
In 1946, Claus Ludwig Laue translated the song into German as “Nehmt Abschied, Brüder” for German boy scouts. The lyrics of the German version of the tune are far from being a literal translation of the original Scots version. Of course, today, more than just German boy scouts sing “Nehmt Abschied, Brüder.”
Whether you are going to be bringing in the New Year by singing “Auld Lang Syne” in its original language or in one of the various versions in other languages, we wish you all a Happy New Year 2021! And yes, today’s entry is brief, because, after all, we want you to please have fun with your friends and families today! (But not too many friends and family, as our dreaded Covid-19 restrictions are unfortunately still with us.) We also bid a not so fond farewell to the year 2020, one of the most upside down and trying years in recent decades. Best wishes for a GREAT 2021! Let us hope and work for the best!
Question for students (and subscribers): How do you plan to celebrate the New Year? Please let us know in the comments section below this article. Here is a possible answer to this question:
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more great performances of historical songs, I encourage you to visit and subscribe to the YouTube channels of Patricia Hammond, Tom Carradine, and William Summers. You may also find their associated websites helpful as well: Patricia Hammond, Carrdine’s Cockney Sing-a-long, and Loki Music.
For more about history in general, I also encourage you to visit and subscribe to the YouTube channel for veritas et caritas.
For more information on the first holiday of the year, please see:
Marx, David F. New Year’s Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays). Childrens Pr, 2000.
Peppas, Lynn. New Year’s Day (Celebrations in My World). Crabtree Pub Co, 2010.
The featured image in this article, an illustration to Robert Burns’ poem Auld Lang Syne by J.M. Wright and Edward Scriven, is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.
You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube.