Have been asked to post some details on Up Helly Aa, so here goes, a very very brief descrition of Shetland\'s MAIN Fire Festival (We have lots, nowt much else to do here in the winter other than burn things, it keeps us warm.)
In October a team of craftsmen start to build the galley. On the last Tuesday in January the festivities take place in Lerwick. The lead sqaud, the Guizer Jarls Squad, led by the Guizer Jarl himself, take \"over\" the town for a day. Old folks home, schools etc are visited. At night a procession starts at 1930 with torches being lit, approx 900 - 1,000 of them with galley being paraded around the streets. Eventually she is taken and burned as a symbolic Viking Funeral marking the ending of the long dark nights. After that there is much drinking and dancing in various halls in Lerwick and this goes on until 9am the next morning. As I said this is a very brief run down of what occurs. Am sure if you went to Google there would be lots more detail.
PS Shetlanders and Up Helly Aa experts feel free to pass coment.