Scotland Celebrates Up Helly Aa 2014

For more photos and videos from the celebrations in Scotland, browse the #uphellyaa hashtag.

In Scotland, on the last Tuesday of each January, towns throughout Shetland mark the end of the Yule Season with the Up Helly Aa fire festival. In preparation for the festival, each town’s men organize into squads, with the chief squad led by the Jarl, an elected leader for the entire festival.

On the evening of the festival, the men dress in Viking costume and parade through the town carrying lit torches. In larger towns such as Lerwick, the processions can number nearly 1,000 celebrants. As night falls, the men follow the Jarl to the coastline where they throw their torches into a replica Viking longship and sing while it burns.