As we bid goodbye to 2023 and welcome a New Year, here's why we hold hands when the clock strikes midnight. 

Whether you are partying into the night this New Year or you're chilling on the couch this year, you may have wondered about the reason behind the tradition. 

As you prepare to "sing" out Auld Lang Syne after one too many proseccos, here is the answer to that very question. 

Why do hold hands and sing on New Year's Eve?

East Lothian Courier: Here's why we hold hands and sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve (PA)Here's why we hold hands and sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve (PA) (Image: PA)

Millions of people around the world link hands when they bring in the New Year and sing their hearts out to Auld Lang Syne.

Its origins as a Hogmanay tradition are said to come from freemasonry, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh. 

People would sing with their arms crossed and hands joined as a parting ritual at many Masonic lodges.

A musicologist at the Edinburgh university, Morag Grant, who has published a book about the song – noticed the Masonic link while sifting through the archives of Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, according to a BBC report.

Dr Grant studied a range of historical sources – including written accounts, newspaper reports, theatre playbills, printed music and early recordings – to understand why Auld Lang Syne had reached such local popularity.

Additionally, the beloved Scottish poet and writer of the Auld Lang Syne verse, Robert Burns was a Freemason throughout his adult life.

Throughout his lifetime and after his death, the organisation was instrumental in promoting his work.

The tradition of singing the song at times of parting, and doing so with crossed hands, emerged in the mid-19th century, Dr Grant said.

She added that it was a custom not just among Freemasons, but in other fraternal organisations too.

Auld Lang Syne: A Song And Its Culture by MJ Grant is published by OpenBook Publishers and is available to read free online.