Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa

Less than a day to go until Up Helly Aa 2011! I took the photo above at last year’s event – the unusual effect created by the sparks from the burning torches.

Up Helly Aa is Europe’s largest fire festival, held annually in Lerwick, Shetland. For those unfamiliar with the festival, it can be tricky to explain: a squad of bearded axe-wielding Vikings lead almost 1,000 men, all in their own squads and dressed in costume, through the darkened streets of Lerwick, each carrying a paraffin-soaked flaming torch, to burn a beautifully crafted dragon-headed galley ship in the town’s play-park, before performing and dancing in Lerwick’s halls until the sun comes up. The official Up Helly Aa website explains things better!

For those unable to make it to the festival in person, there will be a live video stream on Shetland.org’s Shetland webcams.

View a selection of my Up Helly Aa photos from previous years.

Posted: January 24th, 2011
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