Up Helly Aa Round-Up


Up Helly Aa procession, 2010 – photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Up Helly Aa, the festival celebrating Shetland’s history and Norse roots, culminated in Lerwick earlier this week with a procession, lit by 1000 torches, and burning of a galley boat.  Other local festivities will be held throughout Shetland until March.

First records date the winter festival to 1824 when a visiting minister wrote: ‘The whole town was in an uproar: from twelve o’clock last night until late this night blowing of horns, beating of drums, tinkling of old tin kettles, firing of guns, shouting, bawling, fiddling, fifeing, drinking, fighting.’

– Up Helly Aa Committee

The modern form of Up Helly Aa, with the galley burning, dates to about 130 years ago.

Description of the Events and Listing of Festivities and Recap of Lerwick’s procession

History of Up Helly Aa

Official Website

Shetland Library, Very Brief History of Up Helly Aa

Alison Campsie, “Hundreds of ‘Vikings’ gather for Up Helly Aa in Shetland,” The Scotsman

BBC News article on Up Helly Aa and Video of this year’s procession in Lerwick

Pictures from this year’s festivities (and here)

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