Where did they come from?
The image of the old year is represented by Father Time, known in Greek mythology as the god Chronus, and depicted as an elderly, bearded man, dressed in a robe, carrying an hourglass representing time's constant movement. He also carried a scythe, linking time's passage with the inevitability of death.
The symbol of the New Year is often depicted as a baby, and this custom has it's own interesting history. The ancient Greeks paraded a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of Dionysus, the God of wine, as the spirit of fertility.
The custom of sharing a kiss at midnight comes from ancient masked balls. The mask symbolized the evil spirits of the old year, and the kiss the purification into the new year.
The song we sing comes from a poem written in the 1700s by a Scottish poet Robert Burns. "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago."
Well I declare! Now you know.
May your 2009 be the best ever.