Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland

Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland

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The Viking festival of Up Helly Aa takes place every year on the last Tuesday of January. This is a strong community event, the preparations taking a full year and culminating in the burning of a Viking galley. Each year a new Guizer Jarl (Viking leader) and his viking squad lead a procession of hundreds of torch bearing guisers dressed in all manner of costumes to the final burning. The party lasts at least 24 hours, starting at about 5.30 am on the morning of the procession for the Vikings and lasting right through the day and night. Local halls of varying sizes around the island host packed evening events which are visited by the parties of guisers who do a “turn” to each audience. The acts can be traditional or, more likely, bizarre and surreal.

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