Auld Lang Syne/Ethiopa’s Stolen Prince/Rumi Animation Release – Poetry News Roundup 2nd January

We begin 2023 here on My Poetic Side with a look at the meaning of Auld Lang Syne, the poet urging the UK to return Ethiopia’s “stolen” prince and the animated film about Rumi that will be released in February.

The Meaning of Auld Lang Syne

As the clocks struck midnight on New Years’ Eve, people all over the world joined together and sang Auld Lang Syne, the famous verse that was penned by Robert Burns in 1788.

The title Auld Lang Syne means “time gone by” or “for the sake of old times” and the song begins with the line


The song is, in fact, all about a pair of old friends who are having a drink together and reminiscing together.

The original was written in Scots, however, the more recognisable lyrics that people sing every year have been put into a more traditional English version.

Whilst singing Auld Lang Syne, you may have also wondered why people link hands at the same time. This tradition has its origins in Hogmanay and is believed to stem from Freemasonry. The crossing of arms and the joining of hands was a parting ritual that took place in many of the masonic lodges.

UK Urged to Return Ethiopian “Stolen” Prince by Poet

Lemm Sissay, the award-winning poet, has called for the remains of the Ethiopian Price Alemayehu to be returned to his homeland.

The Prince’s body is buried in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. He was just 18 years old when he died of lung inflammation, and he came to Britain as a seven-year-old in 1868, having been captured.

The only legitimate son of Emperor Tewodros II, there have long been calls for his body to be returned to Ethiopia – something that the chapel has said would not be practical to do as it would disturb the other bodies buried in the chapel.

Sissay, who has Ethiopian heritage, has been very vocal in his campaigning – the story of the Prince resonates with this own as he was also “stolen” from his birth mother. He believes the return of the remains would help to symbolise everything that is good about the relationship between Ethiopia and the UK.

Lamya’s Poem Set for US Release

An animated film about the life of a young refugee from Syria and the poet Rumi has been given a release date in the US. The film will feature Millie Davis, the Odd Squad actress, as the voice of the titular character and the voice of Mena Massoud, who was the voice of Aladdin in the 2019 film as Rumi.

The film tells the story of Lamya and a meeting with Rumi that takes place in a dream. It will be released in the US on 21st February.

The film, which is the work of the Canadian PIP Animation team, was inspired by accounts of displaced Syrians reading literature and poems in refugee camps in an effort to help them overcome the traumas they had endured as a result of their displacement. It was premiered last year at the Annecy International Film Festival, which took place in France.

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