Up Helly Aa is a legendary viking festival that takes place in Scotland every year, and Tuesday’s procession was epic as ever. Realistic armoured costumes, group chanting, and a full-on ship burning was only the beginning of a night filled with drinking, dancing and… Well, more drinking.
All groups of ‘vikings’ are known as Jarl Squads, which are led by an elected Guizer Jarl. The squads spend the whole day marching through Lerwick, the capital of Shetland province, and eventually make their way to the waterfront, where they burn a viking ship with 1 thousand torches. Once the boat is nice and crispy, they retire to town hall and drink beer until the sun comes up.
The festival is a deeply cherished tradition in the Shetland islands, which were invaded and colonised by Norse viking settlers in the 8th century, and became a Norwegian province until 1472. Those hundreds of years left an impact on the now Scottish territory, which continues to celebrate its Scandinavian history.