Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fire Festivals: Up-Helly-Aa

Ok, I'll admit it - I love fire festivals, and I've always wanted to go go to this one: Up-Helly-Aa, Britain's biggest.

Thinking of a making your own bonfire this season? Then by all means, do so safely. Here are some tips for building your own bonfire, including instructions on what chemicals you can safely use to make colored flame.

From Visit Shetland (with a few links from yours truly)

For 24 hours, on the last Tuesday of January, the town of Lerwick goes more than a little mad.

"There will be no postponement for weather". That's a defiant boast by Shetland's biggest fire festival, considering it's held in mid-winter on the same latitude as southern Greenland. But it's true: gales, sleet and snow have never yet stopped the Up Helly Aa guizers of Lerwick from burning their Viking galley - and then dancing the dawn away. Up Helly Aa is a lot more than a sub-arctic bonfire and booze-up. It's a superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland history, and a triumphant demonstration of the islanders' skills and spirit. This northern Mardi Gras lasts just one day (and night). But it takes several thousand people 364 days to organise. Much of the preparation is in strictest secrecy. The biggest secret of all is what the head of the festival, the 'Guizer Jarl', will wear and which character from the Norse Sagas he'll represent.



This post goes out to my good friend Fyrehawk, who hosts great bonfires twice yearly, and to her Life Partner Debbie, a Cooking Goddess who provides the feast, and their seven cats who acts as jestors. We love you gals.

No comments: