This March, the final two Up Helly Aa events of the year will take place on Shetland. From January to March, the Shetland Islands come alive with a whole host of these Viking themed fire festivals, known as ‘Up Helly Aa’.
The celebrations usually feature a Jarl Squad (Viking Squad), a procession, the burning of a Viking-style galley, plus much dancing and merriment. The most famous of these celebrations is Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa, but South Mainland, and Delting’s events are also exciting to watch.
South Mainland Up Helly Aa
When: 10th March 2017
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. The Jarl Squad, made up of men, women and children, will 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 Squad and interested helpers), is burnt while afloat at Gulberwick beach.
More info: www.smuha.org
Delting Up Helly Aa
When: 17th March 2017
Where: Delting, Shetland
£: Free to watch the procession
What is it?
Delting Up Helly Aa is the last of these events to take place, and closes the Viking fire festival season. It takes place annually on the third Friday in March. The first Delting Up Helly Aa took place in 1970 and the celebration has all the usual festivities including a Jarl Squad, evening torch lit procession and partying in the local halls.
More info: www.facebook.com/Delting-Up-Helly-Aa