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Travel: Up Helly Aa

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Playing with Fire

Since the 1880s, Up Helly Aa, dubbed “Europe’s largest fire festival,” marked the end of the Christmas season. The event in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, located off the coast of Scotland, features a thousand-man procession of torch-carrying guizers dressed as Vikings—complete with suits, helmets, weapons, and shields. The procession culminates with the guizers throwing their torches into the galley of a longship and igniting a spectacular conflagration.

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Monica Mehta

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