The grand Viking Fire Festival

Next article:World’s scariest walkway

Taking place annually on the last Tuesday of January in the town of Lerwick, the Shetland's Viking Fire Festival, or Up Helly Aa as it's known locally, is the largest event of its kind in Europe. Thousands of visitors from across the world travel to this northernmost corner of Scotland to join in this Scandinavian Vikings’ style celebrations of the end of winter and the return of the sun.

People hold flaming torches in Lerwick (Picture: PA)

(Picture: PA)

At that time, ‘warriors' wear winged helmets, sheepskins and carry axes and shields marching through the streets of Lerwick. It dates back to the 19th century. The procession is led by the Guizer Jarl, or chief guizer, and culminates dramatically with a replica longboat being set alight.

(Picture: PA)

(Picture: PA)

Work begins at the end of October to ensure everything is ready for the celebrations. Volunteers are responsible for the building of the galley boat and the production of more than 1,000 torches. Those taking part in the festival spend the night visiting a host of celebrations in halls around the town. Shetland and neighbouring Orkney were ruled by the Norse for about 500 years until they became part of Scotland in 1468. The festival stems from the 1870s when a group of young local men wanted to put new ideas into Shetland’s Christmas celebrations.

(Picture: PA)



All the photos are from the web and the copyright retains with the original author. If there is any problem, please contact us.