Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Up Helly Aa

For 24 hours, on the last Tuesday of January, the town of Lerwick goes more than a little mad.

"There will be no postponement for weather". That's a defiant boast by Shetland's biggest fire festival, considering it's held in mid-winter on the same latitude as southern Greenland. But it's true: gales, sleet and snow have never yet stopped the Up Helly Aa guizers of Lerwick from burning their Viking galley - and then dancing the dawn away.

Up Helly Aa is a lot more than a sub-arctic bonfire and booze-up. It's a superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland history, and a triumphant demonstration of the islanders' skills and spirit. This northern Mardi Gras lasts just one day (and night). But it takes several thousand people 364 days to organise. Much of the preparation is in strictest secrecy. The biggest secret of all is what the head of the festival, the 'Guizer Jarl', will wear and which character from the Norse Sagas he'll represent.

Read more HERE

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

yup...my ancestors are vikings...we got thrown out of 2 countries and 5 states here in the us..I would like to attend that..which reminds me..my daughter is going to london for 2-3 week vacation..wants to go to ireland...oh wait..i will send you email...need your advice

Debbie said...

Sounds like a helluva a party. I bet you don't feel any of the cold or damp weather when you're completely drunk.

dom said...

How else do you think the Brits survive our winters Debbie ? lol

I wonder why your comment is as anonymous Jackie ? Sure send me an email, cept I have no idea about Ireland ... even though I just found out I'm part Irish .. A McCool