January 28th – 29th
Up-Helly-Aa is a centuries-old fire festival held in the Shetland Islands. It is derived from the ancient Yuletide festival celebrating the triumph of the sun over darkness and winter, and it pays
tribute to the ancient Viking Gods and Goddesses. The festival began with torch light processions that ignited giant bonfires and culminated with the burning of a replica of a Viking ship. It was believed that the fire would dispel evil spirits from the villagers and their homes. The festivities usually ended with great feasting and dancing until dawn.