TODAY’S HOLIDAY: UP-HELLY-AA


Up-Helly-Aa

This ancient fire festival is observed by people ofLerwick in the Shetland Islands. In pre-Christian times, their Norse ancestors welcomed the return of the sun god with Yule, a 24-day period of feasting, storytelling, and bonfires. The last night of the festival was called Up-Helly-Aa, or “End of the Holy Days.” Today, a group known as the Guizers builds a 31-foot model of a Viking longship in honor of the Viking invaders who remained in Scotland. On the night of Up-Helly-Aa, the Guizers dress in Norse costumes and carry the boat to an open field. There, they throw lit torches into the ship and burn it. More… Discuss

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