When: 14th March 2014
Where: South Mainland, Shetland
£: Free to watch the procession. Events in the halls are ticketed.
What is it?
The South Mainland Up Helly Aa is the newest of the Shetland fire festivals, having started in 2010.
Up Helly Aa is a term used to mean an annual fire festival and it dates back to the Napoleonic period when rival groups of Lerwick youths dragged burning tar barrels through the town as part of the Yuletide festivities. The area now has quite a few Up Helly Aa celebrations, the Lerwick event possibly being the most well-known.
These days the Up Helly Aa celebrations tend to take on a Viking style theme with replica galley burning and ‘Jarl Squads’ dressed in their finest outfits including shields, axes and helmets.
This year, South Mainland’s Up Helly Aa will begin at 7am on 14th March with a procession from Lower Hillside Road. The Jarl Squad, made up of men, women and children, will then spend the day visiting the local halls and schools until the evening when the main procession begins. Around 400 torches are burned for the evening procession. The galley, built by members of the SMUHA committee, the Jarl’s Squad and interested helpers is burnt while afloat at Gulberwick beach.