For Honor – Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands

For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Few have heard of it, let alone been. Our destination is Shetland in the far north of Scotland, where one of the most incredible festivals in Europe is held. On the last Tuesday of January, the town of Lerwick goes more than a little mad. Up Helly Aa is a lot more than a sub-arctic bonfire and booze-up. It’s a superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland’s history and a triumphant demonstration of the islanders’ skills and spirit. Fifty helmeted Vikings and a burning Norse galley. Unmissable!

More info: Up Helly Aa (h/t: theguardian)

Participants dressed as Vikings eat breakfast as they prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Members of the Jarl Squad before the start of the parade through the streets in Lerwick:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

The Guizer Jarl is the main character in the celebration, and the Jarl Squad comprises supporters:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A good breakfast is important:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

A boy waits for the rest of the squad:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

And they are off on the march:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

The Guizer Jarl and his squad. A person must be on a special committee for 15 years before they can be a Jarl – and each year just one person is elected to it:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A replica galley – a type of ship – is built every year for the festival:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

Children march through the streets of Lerwick:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Jarl Squad marching:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The squad stand on the galley after the march:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

When the sun sets, it’s time for the procession …
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

… which is when the galley is dragged through the streets:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Torchbearers are all the various squads’ members, and are led by the Jarl Squad:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Following the procession, the torchbearers form a circle around the galley and sing a traditional song …
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

… before throwing their torches on to the replica ship:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jane Barlow/PA

The burning of the galley marks the end of the celebration …
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

… but the festivities continue long in to the night:
For Honor - Vikings Gather For Up Helly Aa Festival In Shetland Islands
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below

More Inspiring Stories