by Crystal Grafton Combs, Nu Beta (U of Mississippi), International Vice President
I love so many things about the holiday season, from the glow of Christmas lights and Hanukkah candles to the taste of gingerbread cookies and spiced eggnog. My favorite thing about the holidays, however, is receiving cards from friends and sisters near and far. My husband and I were gifted a wire card holder in the shape of an ornament to celebrate our first Christmas together. Every year, I love to watch it fill up with the faces of my friends and their families as they share the highlights of their lives in a holiday card. It warms my heart, and it is literally the last piece of decoration that goes back into the attic in the New Year!
In much the same way that I love checking the mail each day for the arrival of new cards, I love listening to holiday songs! This includes such classics as “Auld Lang Syne.” Like me, you probably sing along at the stroke of midnight every year, but have you ever thought about what the lyrics actually mean? This year, I was curious. With just a bit of research, I learned that the words “auld lang syne” loosely translate to “for old times’ sake,” and the song is widely regarded as being written about love, preserving old friendships and remembering the events of the past year. The phrase, “we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,” relates to the toasts shared among people in celebration of their friendship.
Robert Burns, a celebrated poet and Scotsman, is said to have been so inspired by the words of the original poem by the same name that he was the first person to write them down and forward them to the Scots Musical Museum. It has long been a Scottish tradition to sing this song at each New Year while standing in a circle and holding hands. On the last verse, everyone in the circle crosses their arms so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. At the end, everyone rushes to the middle to celebrate!
So much of what this song represents reminds me of our sisterhood – love, friendship and remembering shared experiences while holding hands, singing and promising to preserve old friendships. And all of this at the dawn of a New Year, filled with the hope of goals, dreams and vision boards just waiting to be fulfilled. As the holidays become fond memories and our lives return to the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, may you always find joy in our sisterhood, sharing a cup of kindness and spreading it around like confetti! Happy New Year!