Up Helly Aa is a unique festival of Shetland. Shetland is a small island actually Shetland is a collection of many small islands together called Shetland islands. These islands are situated in between the Greet Britain and Norway.
Festival of fire is another name of Up Helly Aa. This Up Helly Aa is celebrated to mark the end of the Yule season and generally celebrated from January to March. This Up Helly Aa is celebrated to mark the victory of Yule. This Up Helly Aa is fire festival where people lit torch and marched on the streets. The crowd who march and torch lit are called quizers of Lerwick.
When crowd follow up marching with the torch light it is spectacle to see. The view is just beautiful. This Up Helly Aa has carried on with it the superb history.
History related to Up Helly Aa
Before telling you the history about the Up Helly Aa let us know about the Up in Up Helly Aa, up means something which is in the end and Helly is festival mean a holy festival and Aa refers to all.
Let us know something intersting about the older Yule tradition of tar barreling. Eariler every year tar barrelling is celebrated on the eve of Christmas and New year as Up Helly Aa where a group or squad of young men drag burning tar barrel through town on a sledge but in the year 1874–1880 it is band considering the safety of the public.
Permission for torch processions was given and since then it is still continuing. The very first torch march procession celebration held in the year 1881. Slowly slowly this event of torchlit celebration celebrated at eleven places Uyeasound, Northmavine, Bressay, Cullivoe, Norwick, Waas, the South Mainland Scalloway, Lerwick, Nesting , Girlsta and Delting.
Modern Event related to Up Helly Aa
In modern times many thing has changed like in the year 2020 the blackface has been banned by the community. the squads visit the schools, hotels and many local places after the procession. Singing and dancing continues and at some places skit also performed which is recorded and send to the T.V shows.
Guzier Jarl ?? Who they are ??
Guziers Jarl are the main person who follow the torch lit. Every Guzier is character of the Norse legend. They wear their costumes and Guzier Jarl throw torches in the galley (replica of viking longship is build )after the procession.
In this festival of fire Up Helly Aa where thousand of paraders set vessel on fire. The Jarl supporter are collectively called the Guzier Jarl squad. And the participant is called the Guzier. Full of enthusiasm and joy this festival of fire is celebrated.
Every year a gallery is prepared which is replica of the Viking Longship. The street of the Lerwick town is torch lit at night. The view of this just blow you up it is so beautiful. More then the beauty the spirit of the people to celebrate this festival of fire is worth watching. The squad members are the torch bearers.
Every squad choose it own theme and dress themselves accordingly. Theme should be historical or may be tropical or satirical.
When torch bearer arrive at the the Galley which is the final destination of the torch bearer they all gather together and form a circle around the Galley and they all sing their traditional song related to the Up Helly Aa.
When the song finishes all the Guzier start throwing their torches into the longship repilca. When the Longship Galley burned down and fire dies the Guzers again start singing their traditional song which is “The Norseman’s home” and then they go on partying every Guzier visits the halls where party is going on and sing and dance and enjoy.
There are many Guzier squads and there are many halls or place of party and till the night or you can say till the next morning the party continues and the next day which is known as the “Hop Night” where dances and celebrations and party continues.
One most important thing is that Up Helly Aa for the year 2020 has not been celebrated due to the Covid 19.