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This saying is by Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and here we are at the end of one year and the beginning of another.

This saying is quite true if you think about it for a moment, we today are neurotic about time and being on time, this is because we have watches and computers who constantly remind us of time. But think before watches became the thing for the majority of us, some 150 years ago, most people went about their lives according to the Sun and the Seasons. Most people only got access to cheap watches about 100 years ago and even then it was the modern equivalent of the latest technological iSomething, not really available to all.

Many cultures in the World today still measure time according to fashion, cultural norms, in Latin America you can be 90 minutes late for dinner and no one will pay any attention to it. In many places in the World time is something people agree upon, we will meet at such a place on this day without specifying a time, there is a cultural norm that says each party knows when it will be appropriate to meet, nothing more precise about it. I remember in the Levant where I lived, friends would say let’s meet for coffee and we all knew when to meet, or come for dinner and you knew it would be after 9pm.  Here we are obsessive about time and being on time and get quite angry if someone is late.

So we arrive at Hogmanay, the last day of the old year and we will bid it farewell with the poem Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns in 1788.

The song’s Scots title may be translated into standard English as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”,”days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently, “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.

The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase “In the days of auld lang syne” as the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.

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I hope that the New Year 2016 will bring good health, good Fortune, Sunny Days and good cheer!

Burns’ original Scots verse
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?
CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.
CHORUS
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.

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Dance to the music of Time by Nicolas Poussin

It is a triangular composition with dark background which is blue and gray apart from beautifully highlighted golden chariot with Apollo, the god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy, medicine and healing and the arts. Below are four allegorical figures who have joined hands and are dancing, but, importantly facing outwards with their backs to each other. Poverty is a man in a black robe, Labour is is a bright white golden dress. Wealth and Leisure are also present.

The figures are choreographed into a ring which is the symbol of the circle and cycle of life.

Although the different circumstances of human life form opposites (hence they all have their backs to each other and cannot see each other) they are conditional upon each other as they execute the dance hand in hand. Without Poverty there would be no Work and with no Work, no Wealth, without which there would be no Leisure. In one corner there is Time and in the other we see the roman god Janus with two heads- one looking to the future, the other to the past.

Bonne Année! Happy New Year 2016!

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