Page last updated at 00:04 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Vikings ready for fire festival

Up Helly Aa 2008
The Viking procession is watched by thousands of spectators

The usually dark winter skies above Shetland are to be lit up with colour for the Up-Helly-Aa fire festival.

Bearded Vikings wielding swords will be taking to the streets of Lerwick on Tuesday evening before burning their replica galley.

The annual celebration of Shetland culture culminates with 1,000 guizers - including men in Viking outfits - hurling torches into a longship.

Despite its Viking theme, the festival dates back to the late 19th Century.

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SEE ALSO
In pictures: Up Helly Aa
30 Jan 08 |  In Pictures
Festival of light for Shetlands
29 Jan 08 |  North East/N Isles
In pictures: Up Helly Aa
30 Jan 07 |  In Pictures
Viking fire festival takes light
31 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Guizers gathering for Up Helly Aa
31 Jan 06 |  In Pictures

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