Up Helly Aa: Viking warrior parade through streets of Lerwick

Shetland’s famous Up Helly Aa fire festival – with women and girls in the torchlit procession for the first time – has witnessed the burning of a replica Viking galley light up the sky over Lerwick.

The 142-year-old event, which celebrates the islands’ Norse heritage, is the biggest fire festival in Europe.

Females have traditionally been restricted to participating as hostesses – organising the all-night parties that take place in community halls across the Shetland capital.

However, organisers agreed to lift the gender restrictions for the main procession. The decision followed a campaign dating back to the 1980s.

Read more: Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival returns

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