By Barry Barbe

Our lives are filled with traditions and none so more than during the holidays. And New Year’s Eve has its own collection of traditions meant to wish good luck and promise for the New Year, while bidding goodbye to the past.

There are two standouts when it comes to NYE traditions, even more so than the clinking of glasses and the kiss at midnight. There’s the signing of “Auld Lang Syne,” and the wishing of peace for the coming year.

Most know the first few lines to Auld Lang Syne, or quite literally “The Old Song,” but not much more than that. It’s a classic example of a tradition that is repeated out of familiarity, without truly understanding the meaning behind the lyrics.<br />

The song is actually a Scottish poem from the late 1700s and has a few versions with minor changes, but all carry the same theme.

The tune had already been used as a part of traditional celebrations, but it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, in 1929, who made it a mainstay of NYE as much as the countdown to midnight and the New Year’s Eve toast. The lyrics have been massaged a bit over the years to make it both more singable, and understandable.

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,

and never thought upon;

The flames of Love extinguished,

and fully past and gone:

Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,

that loving Breast of thine;

That thou canst never once reflect

On old long syne.

The song is actually a lesson full of questions reminding one to not forget past relationships, love and memories as we move forward, but rather to cherish them.

Wishing peace is another simpler message that we pass to each other with the coming of the New Year. But perhaps, we should wish for something more obtainable that we as individuals actually have control over.

Peace on earth can be achieved only when everyone is of like mind, and content with their current condition. But to obtain such a lofty goal, we need to start with ourselves, in our homes, and in our communities.

There are three simple ways that we can make a difference in not only our community, but across the globe in places we have never been, with people we will never meet. They are simple words and wishes for the New Year that offer solace, comfort and hope.

Caring. Compassion. Forgiveness.

Perhaps start by wishing care for those around us in the New Year. Caring to consider the thoughts and beliefs of others. Caring to look out for your neighbor, stranger or best friend. Caring to look for ways to make a difference. Caring so as to exhibit kindness in the face of adversity.

Give the gift of compassion for the New Year. Compassion to understand the misfortunes of others. Compassion to not only care for those who have less, but those who have much more. Compassion to speak up and out to make a difference during times of conflict.

Forgiveness. This is perhaps the most important and most difficult gift to give. Without forgiveness, all hope of peace is lost. It may appear impractical to imagine forgiveness when considering some of the issues the world is experiencing, but if it is obtainable and modeled in our homes and community where we interact one on one and face to face, surely it can have a much further reaching affect.

Auld Lang Syne, and wishing peace in the New Year.

One reminds us to remember, the other asks us to be open to the possibility of what can happen, when we show caring, compassion and forgiveness.

May your home be filled with love, your cupboards full of staples, and your hearts filled with compassion during the coming year.

Happy New Year!

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

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