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Up Helly Aa!

Up Helly Aa!


It may not feel like it, but this is the end of winter!

Or at least, that's what the islanders of Shetland would tell you. Tonight is their annual fire festival, Up Helly Aa, when up to a thousand 'guizers' will march along the streets of Lerwick to celebrate the end of the Yule season. Flamboyant costumes, men in drag, and schools performing sketches and acts.

And then, the good bit! At the end of tonight's festivities, hundreds of flaming torches will be thrown into Viking-style longships especially made for the occasion, which will then burn, blazing and orange, into ashes. 

And in the glimmer of the embers, in the warmth of the curling flames, you might just feel the start -- just the start --of the end of winter.


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