Up-Helly-Aa 2009 Lerwick, Shetland, UK

Europe’s largest and most spectacular winter fire festival.

The Vikings arrived in Shetland a bit over a thousand years ago and have long since gone, but they left their influence on the island, so much so that at times the Scandinavian shows through the more typical Scottish.

The DVD that these photos were grabbed from, was sent to us by Jarl Stephen Mouat (the leader for this year’s celebration).  The Jarl for each annual, late January celebration chooses a character from Shetland history, to depict.  Jarl Stephen chose OTHERE FRA HÅLOGALAND who was the first Norwegian to round the North Cape and sail east to the Bjarmer People (Norway) about the year 875.

Up-Helly-Aa 2009 included:

46 Guizer squads totaling 970 Guizers (guizer is root for disguise & in this case a disguised man)

886 Torch carriers which make an impressive night parade through Lerwick.

Guizer Jarl’s squad numbered 57

All the costumes and uniforms you see in the photos were handmade and many from leather. The weapons, shields & helmets were wood & chrome plated copper all cut and/or stamped out by these tradesmen.

I thoroughly enjoyed the DVD and want to thank Stephen Mouat for sending it and his Guizer Jarl squad for choosing our Steger Mukluks to wear on this special occasion.

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