The Jarl Squad during Up Helly Aa in the Shetland Islands

Up Helly Aa

Up Helly Aa is the biggest of the fire festivals that take place in the winter months in Shetland. This Viking themed fire festival takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January – this year Tuesday up-helly-aa-story-large29th January 2019. The day involves a series of marches and visitations and in the evening is the most famous part – the torch-lit procession and Galley burning.

At 18:50, the men, known as Guizers (because they are in disguise), will gather to receive their torches. On the stroke of 19:30, a rocket fired into the sky is the signal for them to light up their torches. Then the blazing procession begins, with almost a thousand men marching, led by a large squad of Vikings; the Jarl Squad. The Jarl Squad march, pulling a Viking Galley with their leader – the Guizer Jarl – standing on top. When the Galley reaches the burning site, the torchbearers form a circle round it and sing the traditional Up Helly Aa song. Another rocket is fired and the Guizer Jarl leaves the ship. A bugle call sounds, and the torches are hurled into the galley! The burning galley and the flames in the January winds are quite as sight to see!

Dates for all Shetland Fire festivals are as follows –

  • Scalloway Fire Festival – Friday 11th January 2019 (second Friday of January)
  • Lerwick Up Helly Aa – Tuesday 29th January 2019 (Last Tuesday of January)
  • Lerwick Junior Up Helly Aa – Tuesday 29th January 2019 (Last Tuesday of January)
  • Nesting & Girlsta Up Helly Aa – Friday 8th February 2019 (10 days after Lerwick festival)
  • Uyeasound Up Helly Aa – Friday 8th February 2019 (Usually Second Friday of February)
  • Northmavine Up Helly Aa – Friday 15th February 2019 (Third Friday of February)
  • Bressay Up Helly Aa – Friday 22nd February 2019 (Last Friday of February)
  • Cullivoe Up Helly Aa – Friday 22nd February 2019 (Last Friday of February)
  • Norwick Up Helly Aa – Saturday 23rd February 2019 (Third Saturday of February)
  • South Mainland Up Helly Aa – Friday 8th March 2019 (Second Friday of March)
  • Walls Junior Up Helly Aa – Saturday 9th March 2019 (Second Saturday of March)
  • Delting Up Helly Aa – Friday 15th March 2019 (Third Friday of March)

Watch this year’s Lerwick Up Helly Aa webcast from Tuesday 29th January 2019, sponsored by NorthLink Ferries in partnership with Promote Shetland, below!

Up Helly Aa Live 2019

We are proud to sponsor the Up Helly Aa live webcam for seventh consecutive year in partnership with Promote Shetland Welcome to the live stream of the evenings Up Helly Aa - you can also view the webcast on our website here: https://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/uphellyaa/ #Shetland #ScotSpirit #ScotlandIsNow #UpHellyAa2019 #UpHellyAa VisitScotland #FireFestival #ProudSponsors

Posted by NorthLink Ferries on Tuesday, January 29, 2019

 

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