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Up Helly Aa 2014

Event Name : Up Helly Aa
Start Date: Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Venue : Lerwick, Shetland

This is a relatively unknown festival with traditional roots going as far back as the late 1800s. It is held on the Shetland Islands - to the North of Scotland and is considered to be one of the most incredible festivals in all of Europe.

Up Helly Aa Background

The entire festival plays out in the town of Lerwick – with a huge bonfire and free flowing alcohol. This glittering spectacle is centered around celebrating the history of the place and also to demonstrate the hardy spirit and the skills of the islanders. One can expect to see Vikings in their full regalia, Norse galleys and take part in a party that lasts all night long.

This festival means different things to different people and there are many experiences to savor – even considering that it was canceled on a few occasions like World War II and the flu pandemic in the 1900s. The sight of Guizer Jarl and his squad marching through the small town is a sight to behold.

Up Helly Aa History

It is believed that this festival celebrates the return of soldiers from the war – the men were pretty happy to be back home and celebrated with their rowdy habits and not to mention, their firearms. The townspeople were also happy to see them and stayed up late blowing on horns, beating drums and old kettles, played loud music and drank merrily.

Over the years as the town of Lerwick grew in size, the festivities became more elaborate. In 1870, this event was given its name – Up Helly Aa and the festival was moved to the end of January.

The Viking Ship and the Guizer Jarl were introduced in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The festival resumed in 1949 – and got radio coverage from the BBC. This helped to catapult the festival onto the international stage. With more people participating and more resources being available to organizers, it has truly become one for all those who love to party.

Up Helly Aa 2014 Timetable

Time Event
09:00 March to British Legion
09:45  Leave British Legion and march along Esplanade
10:30 Depart Bressay Ferry Terminal for civic reception in Lerwick Town Hall.
15:30 Visit Shetland Museum
19:15 Guizer Jarl Squad passes up the ranks of the Guizers
19:30 Procession commences
21:15 Visit first hall of evening

Official Programme & Souvenir Programme

  • Harrys Department Store
  • Shetland Times book shop
  • Conochies Newsagents
  • Ellesmere Stores

Up Helly Aa 2014 Halls Open

  1. Sound Hall
  2. Anderson High School
  3. Town Hall
  4. T.A. Hall
  5. Ro-Ro Terminal
  6. Royal British Legion
  7. Islesburgh Community Centre
  8. Bells Brae School
  9. Gilbertson Park Games Hall
  10. Clickimin Centre
  11. Sound School

Upcoming Festivals

Unsound Festival 2014 October 12th
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