Auld Lang Syne
song that was first written down in the 1700s. Robert Burns is the person whose transcription got the most attention, the song is associated with him...
"auld lang syne" is translated as "old long since" or "days gone by" or "old times"
The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships.
At New Year...
"Auld Lang Syne" is traditionally sung at the conclusion of New Year gatherings in Scotland and around the world, especially in English-speaking countries.
It is common practice that everyone joins hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbour on the left and vice versa. When the tune ends, everyone rushes to the middle, while still holding hands. When the circle is re-established, everyone turns under the arms to end up facing outwards with hands still joined.
In countries other than Scotland the hands are often crossed from the beginning of the song at variance with Scottish custom. The Scottish practice was demonstrated by the Queen at the Millennium Dome celebrations for the year 2000. The English press berated her for not "properly" crossing her arms, unaware that she was correctly following the Scottish tradition.
See wikipedia for more detailed info.
Happy New Year!