In Pictures: The Fire Festivals Of Shetland

In Pictures: The Fire Festivals Of Shetland
The Viking fire festival on Shetland Islands Photo credit: Andrew J Shearer / Shutterstock,

It is fire festival season in Shetland right now

OT Staff
January 28 , 2023
01 Min Read

Every year, communities all throughout Shetland gather together for a series of magnificent and distinctive fiery festivals between January and March. The Up Helly Aa fire festivals rank among Shetland's biggest annual celebrations. Communities from all across the islands come together for a night of traditional Shetland music, torchlit street dancing, and guizing (costumes). This festival takes its cues from Shetland's Viking heritage. A series of locally organised events dubbed the 12 Up Helly Aas take place between January and March, drawing visitors from all over the world. 

The biggest fire festival is Lerwick Up Helly Aa, which happens on the last Tuesday of January each year. Lerwick hosts Shetland's largest annual fire festival for a full day on the last Tuesday in January. Lerwick Up Helly Aa is a magnificent display of Shetland history. This one-day Mardi Gras in the north is organised by volunteers.


In the pitch-black alleys of Shetland's capital, rows of heavily camouflaged torchbearers, or

Eventually, a torch-bearing procession makes its way to the Viking longship, or

The squad circles around a gallery with torches

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