Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa: Europe’s Largest Fire Festival

Up Helly Aa
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Try something different. Most festivals are joking when they say prep for the following year’s gathering starts the day after the last one ends. But that’s literally the case with Up Helly Aa.

Held for over 100 years on the last Tuesday in January, this unique tradition involves a torchlit procession of nearly one thousand men dressed in Viking regalia — the “disguises” take literally all year to make — through the streets of a small Shetland town, ’til they reach the Galley and a traditional Norse ship is burned.

Following the procession, the night is filled with acts and routines from the various groups in the procession, with the proceedings finally winding down at 8 am the following morning.

Tom Cooper| Elite.

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