Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Up Helly Aa

The senior processionThe abiding influence of the Vikings, who arrived in Shetland just over 1000 years ago, is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January every year, by the largest fire festival in Europe - "Up Helly Aa".
The Jarl in front of his burning galley
After a torch-light procession of up to a thousand "guizers" through the streets of Lerwick a full-size replica Viking longship is ceremonially burned. The "guizers" and onlookers then repair to local halls for 
a night of revelry, dancing and partying. (Not just a night to be honest, it carries on, another reason for me to go!)

 Some pictures from the Shetland Islands web site and some from our t.v.

This is one thing I would like to personally witness before I pop my clogs.

In Aberdeenshire we have the Stonehaven Fireballs

This takes place on Hogmanay.

When I was at school last week, one little boy informed me his brother had touched one of the fireballs.  I gazed at him in horror.  "Afore it was lit."  he told me scornfully.

I just love these Pagan Festivals.  (And I adore men in kilts.)

Meanwhile, back at home and not in the flights of fantasy, well, I probably am still.  Could be the antibiotics.  Down the summer house/shed/drinking parlour/bird watching hide (Merlin again and 2 Buzzards doing a mating fly past)  I realised I have to do a lot more on painting feathers.

Tis supposed to be a Merlin.  The purple flowers are supposed to be heather.

May well be doing my own fire festival and burning all these crap paintings......


A Trifle Rushed said...

All that wonderful pagan fire, fabulous! Your Merlin is enchanting.

Christine Laennec said...

Jill you are definitely NOT ALLOWED to burn any of your artistic creations! Keep them all, and then do what my daughter has done, look back on them when you've improved so you can see how far you've come!

We've been to the fireballs a few times, but not for many years. It always involved a lot of waiting outside in the cold, and a hip flask comes in very handy. It really is spectacular. I hope it won't be too long before we can go once again!

Annie said...

Oh to have been in Shetland visiting my friends there ... we hope to move to join them there one day :D

Susan T said...

We are far to stuffy in Northern England to have anything as exciting as the Viking festival. Health and safety would probably worry themselves into a frenzy about the fire. Art work is great, far better than anything I could accomplish.