The Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival

Figure 1 - Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival, 1973. Picture by Ann Burgess via the Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

Figure 1 – Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival, 1973. Picture by Anne Burgess via the Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

Enough with the bad weather already, he exclaimed.  Most of the United States is currently suffering from some sort of miserable weather difficulties, and I am reminded of Shakespeare’s Richard the Third, R3, to the cognoscenti,

“Now is the winter of our discontent…”

So, I was looking for inspiration this afternoon and found this great portfolio of pictures from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.  The Shetland Islands are described as being a subarctic archipelago of Scotland.  Subarctic archipelago?  Doesn’t that sound cold?

And you would expect the people that live there to know how to deal with winter’s rude bite.  And they do.  Hence, The Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival.  Check these pictures from the BBC out.  The videos at this site are worth watch as well. Yes, you’re seeing correctly.  Everyone is dressed as a Viking and, yes, they are setting a Viking longboat on fire.  Puts winter in a whole new perspective.  I want to be there!  I want to be a Viking! “Pillaging hours 9 am to 5 pm M-F.”

The Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival began in the 1880s. The current Lerwick festival evolved from a Christmas tradition of dragging burning tar barrels through the town on sledges.  Doesn’t everyone do that?  When this was banned the festival slowly evolved into a Viking theme and also moved into January.  Yes, you guessed it when everyone is miserable and fed up with the dark and cold and really need a lift.  So grab you ski parkas, put on your  Viking “quize,” and head to Lerwick.  You are sure to find your inner Viking not to mention some wonderful photo opps.  Yes, of course, there is a website.

This entry was posted in Reviews and Critiques.