Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Up Helly Aa

As any Shetland Islander will tell you, they are as much Scandinavian as Scottish (listen to their accents!), and this is reflected in Up Helly Aa, a fire festival held each year where brawny men parade through the streets in horned and winged helmets and pretty much anything that will catch alight is set alight. It's not a particularly old tradition (it started in 1880) but, by Odin, they really go for it.

It's tonight, by the way, so I should probably have mentioned it a few days ago as, even for Scottish readers, Shetland may be quite a trek. Sorry.


  1. As seen in recent Brit indie chiller A Lonely Place To Die

  2. Not by me! I'll have to check that out.

  3. I do something very similar to this at home at any given opportunity (although on a smaller scale and with just myself attending).
    I have a huge fire circle out in the field, with split logs for seats, and an arrangement of miniature megaliths for cosmic decoration. Occasionally a friend might join me, but they're usually not allowed to play out with me again after they arrive home filthy, red-eyed, brain-dead, and stinking of smoke.

    To mark the coming of January I burned a large collection of hardwood armchairs, a double wardrobe, wooden rope bridge, and a few sets of drawers. There was lots of booze and magic potions, but not much in the way of conversation (or winged helmets).

    1. Hello son.
      Please come home, I've kept your room exactly how you left it.