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Extreme Viking Festival In Shetland

Posted by Anuradha Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Almost 1,000 Vikings arrived in Shetland to celebrate the islands' Nordic heritage. The guizers, known as the Jarl Squad, came by boat...

...and other, less traditional, modes of transport .

Up Helly Aa festival saw the Vikings march through the Lerwick city streets...

...and quench their mighty Viking thirsts at inns .

The annual event, widely regarded as Europe's biggest and best fire festival, continued as a torchlight procession when night fell .

Tourism chiefs in Shetland estimated a crowd size of 5,000 onlookers as the procession made its way...

...culminating in a 30-foot longboat being set alight .

The festival began in the 19th Century and is descended from the ancient festival of Yule, which the Vikings held to celebrate the rebirth of the sun .

Although it originated as a Norse pagan festival it was then adopted by Christians to celebrate the end of the Christian Holy period with feasting and bonfires ..


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