Good question, we were only made aware of the Up Helly Aa festival because Jacko in Marketing's wife hails from Shetland.
Up Helly Aa takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January every year. The day involves a series of marches and visitations culminating in a 1000-strong torch-lit procession and the burning of a replica Viking longboat. Whilst the torches and burning might raise a few safety challenges, these relatively modern rituals actually originated to replace the older, more alarming yule tradition of tar barrelling. Squads of young men would drag barrels of burning tar through town on sledges, making mischief, damaging property and raising concern over levels of drunkenness.
Today, Up Helly Aa is a spectacle which attracts thousands of visitors across around the globe, combining fire, fun, feasting and fancy dress without any safety mishaps. What a great way to beat the January Blues
“Shun not the mead, but drink in measure” Hávamál: 19 : The Words of Odin the High One