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Europe's Largest Fire Festival Culminates in a Boat Burning Bonanza

Europe's Largest Fire Festival Culminates in a Boat Burning Bonanza
Reuters

Every year, thousands of Scots gather for the Up Helly Aa fire festival. It's an homage to the country's viking heritage, and culminates with a dramatic boat burning. There are also plent of kilts, marches to brass band music, even a new beer found only at the event. Below, scenes from the festivities.


Jarl Squad vikings light up their torches during the Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. The Up Helly Aa festival, introduced by men returning from the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. (David Moir/Reuters)


Guizer Jarl Stephen Grant stands on a viking longboat before it is sent on fire during during the Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland January 29, 2013. The Up Helly Aa festival, introduced by men returning from the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. (David Moir/Reuters)


Young Jarl Squad vikings shout as they march through the streets on the morning of the Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. The Up Helly Aa festival, introduced by men returning from the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. (David Moir/Reuters)


Flames engulf a viking longboat as it is set on fire during the Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. (David Moir/Reuters)

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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