David Gifford Photography

The Galley Song

Photo: The Galley Song

For anyone who hasn’t seen Up Helly Aa, don’t worry, this is a time-lapse photo… we don’t actually burn the ‘Guizer Jarl’ (the person in the galley / longship) in a massive sea of fire!

Before the torches are thrown into the galley, the squads form a complete circle and sing:

"The Galley Song"

Floats the raven banner o'er us,
Round our Dragon Ship we stand,
Voices joined in gladsome chorus,
Raised aloft the flaming brand.

Every guizer has a duty,
When he joins the festive throng
Honour, freedom, love and beauty
In the feast, the dance, the song.

(Words by John Nicolson, 1935)


Image #143