Vikings took over Lerwick in the Shetland Isles yesterday as they celebrated ‘Up Helly Aa‘, a festival of fire based on Viking tradition.
The festival has been held since the 1880s and is based on the ancient feast of Yule, where Vikings would celebrate the rebirth of the sun.
The procession of roughly 1,000 men, known as the Jarl Squad, is led by one man, the Guizer Jarl.
For 2016 the festivities started at 9am with the Guizer Jarl and his squad marching through Lerwick, taking in several sites including the town hall, the Shetland Museum, and of course a local watering hole and canteen.
They may be Vikings for the day but they managed not to pillage, instead forming orderly queues.
Locals turned out in their droves to witness the spectacle, plus a handful of torch carrying Stormtroopers too. Obviously.
At 7:30 the torches were lit and the real fun could begin.
A ship that has been built solely for the purpose of being burnt becomes the centre of attention as the Jarl Squad encircles it.
Then upon the Guizer Jarl’s orders the ship, which took four months to build, is destroyed by fire as the crowd sings a rendition of ‘The Norseman’s Home’.
Not quite your average Tuesday then.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.