Mark the end of the Yule season in Scotland with this tradition festival dating back to the 19th Century. As the name implies, Up Helly Aa is all about fire with a series of torch processions through the major towns in the Shetland isles and finally ending with a replica of a full-sized Viking galley being burnt. Followed by much drinking and dancing, naturally.

Up Helly Aa Fire Festival,Scotland
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival,Scotland

There’s a major guizer who is dubbed the “jarl”. there may be a committee which someone needs to be part of for 15 years earlier than one can be a jarl, and simplest one character is elected to this committee every 12 months. The procession culminates within the torches being thrown into a duplicate Viking longship or galley. The event happens all over Shetland and is currently celebrated at ten locations – scalloway, Lerwick, nesting and girlsta, uyeasound, northmavine, bressay, cullivoe, norwick, the south mainland and delting. After the procession, the squads go to neighborhood halls (consisting of schools, sports centers and resorts), in which non-public events are held. At each hall, each squad plays its act, which may be a ship-up of a famous television display or movie, a skit on neighborhood events, or making a song or dancing.

The contemporary Lerwick party grew out of the older yuletide subculture of tar barrelling which took place at christmas and new yearr in addition to up helly aa. Squads of young guys would drag barrels of burning tar through city on sledges, making mischief. Concern over public safety and degrees of drunkenness led to a change within the celebrations and saw them drawing thought from the islands’ viking records. After the abolition of tar barrelling around 1874–1880, permission turned into finally acquired for torch processions. the first xmas torch procession befell in 1876. The first torch birthday celebration on up helly aa day happened in 1881. The subsequent year the torchlit procession turned into drastically greater and institutionalised via a request by means of a lerwick civic frame to keep another up helly aa torch procession for the visit of alfred, duke of edinburgh. The first gallery turned into brought and burned in 1889. The honorary function of the ‘jarl’ changed into added to the festival in the early 20th century.

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