Shetland Islands, Part II - Up Helly Aa

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by White Rhino, May 1, 2011.

  1. White Rhino

    White Rhino Member

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    On the last Tuesday of January for every year since 1882, Lerwick has held a torchlight procession which from humble beginnings has grown to feature over 1000 Guizers today and is now considered the largest fire festival in Europe. It was this that heavily influenced by trip to Shetland.

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    The Jarl Squad Singing 'The Up Helly-Aa Song' | Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland - UK

    After a late lunch I needed to kill some time before the main event in the evening I just happened upon the Shetland museum as the Guizer Jarl and his squad were making a visit. It was a good chance to get up close with the Jarls and check out their viking costumes and weapons. The Jarl Squad consists of 16-25 Guizers dressed in their viking suits and each year hold a new shield designed to fit the chosen theme. The chosen weapon can vary from axes, swords, spears, daggers, bows and crossbows.

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    Guizer Jarl Abord The Galley | Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland - UK

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    The Jarl Squad Light Their Torches | Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland - UK

    The street lights are turned off leaving the Jarls basking in the rich glow of their torches. The main Jarl squad is followed 45 other squads totaling nearly 1000 Guizers ranging from police, priests and punks to stormtroopers and superheroes plus plenty of cross dressers who are responsible for Up Helly Aa's "Transvestite Tuesday" nickname.

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    The Torchlight Procession | Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland - UK

    The procession makes it way through the streets for about a 1km in front of thousands of onlookers before gathering at the burning site where the 1000+ Guizers hurl their torches onto the galley which after taking local craftsmen months to construct goes up in smoke in minutes.

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    The Flaming Dragon | Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland - UK

    With the galley burnt to a crisp the night is just beginning. All 45 Jarl squads including the Guizer Jarl and his squad make their way to 12 halls which have been set up for a solid evening of merrymaking, singing, drinking, eating and dancing which continues until 8am the next morning which fortunately brings a public holiday.

    Full post and more pics here.

    Cheers,
    White Rhino
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  2. bubbablair

    bubbablair Member

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    Great photo and story, thanks for sharing.

    The second last photo, with lines of torches stretching away has good impact, so many torches :)
     
  3. NuggetsMcGregor

    NuggetsMcGregor Member

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    agree except for the guy at the front in a baseball cap and ghostbusters t-shirt. kind of ruins the vibe for me
     
  4. Aratama_Bashi

    Aratama_Bashi Iron Photographer

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    so the guys to the right dressed like extras from the stage production of saturday night fever just fit right in for you? :weirdo:
     
  5. NuggetsMcGregor

    NuggetsMcGregor Member

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    nah that's ok. vikings used to wear that kind of stuff
     
  6. andysl

    andysl Member

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    Amazing shots mate!
    Sadly I didn't get up to Shetland, but it's still on the list.

    Nice work :thumbup:
     
  7. Vrm

    Vrm Member

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    Epic set of pics, almost looks like a costly high production set!!
    the red light is fantastic and sets off the mood.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    White Rhino

    White Rhino Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys.

    The only real vikings are the Guizer Jarl's squad. If you missed the vikings going past at the front the rest of the procession just looks like a mish-mash of every theme you can imagine who just happen to have torch with them as well.

    White Rhino
     

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