On the last Tuesday of every January, for a full day and night, the town of Lerwick on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, turns into a Scottish version of Mardi Gras. It's known as the Up Helly Aa Festival and it first began in 1870 to celebrate Scotland's Scandinavian Viking heritage. 1,000 Scottish men parade around Lerwick with torches, making it look like the entire city is on fire.
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Several of the men are selected to be in the "Jarl" squad each year, and they are the only ones who get to dress up as Vikings. The rest of the men must dress according to the festival's chosen theme, which can range from something as simple as a farmer to something outrageous as a drag queen. They all march together around the city as thousands of spectators gather to watch.
The marching culminates when the men throw their torches onto a replica Viking ship built by the Jarl squad setting it ablaze. Everyone watches the ship burn as they sing the traditional Up Helly Aa chant. Afterwards, the real partying commences and continues well into the wee hours of the morning, proving that Scottish pride runs deep and true.
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Read more about the Up Helly Aa Festival:
Up Helly Aa Official Website
Shetland Pride of Place: Up Helly Aa