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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 22:06 GMT
Viking fire festival takes light
Up Helly Aa

Shetland's annual Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival has been taking place in usual spectacular style.

The event sees up to 1,000 costumed "guizers", complete with flaming torches, set a Viking longship ablaze after a procession in Lerwick.

Shetland and Orkney were ruled by the Norse for about 500 years until they became part of Scotland in 1468.

The festival stems from the 1870s and attracts thousands of revellers to take part in the spectacle.

After the galley has been burnt, a series of dances and performances take place in local halls in Lerwick, with squads visiting each.

Wednesday is a public holiday and the islanders are out again at night for the Guizer's Hop.


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