They spend all year building it, then they burn it. Shetland celebrates Europe's largest fire festival on the last Tuesday in January each year. Over 900 men divide up into squads, dress up in costumes, and led by a squad of 21st Century Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick Shetland escorting a Viking galley they have built over the course of the year. The day is long for the Jarl's squad of Vikings, starting with receptions in the town hall and appearances at various care homes and schools around Lerwick. The parade begins at 1930, when the 900torches are lit. Led by the Jarl's squad, the other squads march around the town accompanying the galley they have spent the last year building. The parade ends up in a park in town, with the squads circling the galley and on a given signal throwing their torches into the galley for a spectacular culmination to the parade. About 2100 the squads, who have prepared a short skit, start to circulate among the various halls and gathering places in town to perform their skit, socialise, and do some typical Scottish Country Dancing. The last squads are finishing up about 0800 Wednesday. Wednesday is a local holiday. YouTube has some videos of this year's Up Helly Aa. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLP2sgAtmQU The profile picture is an ex-Jarl, the father of the current Jarl and a good friend of my wife's family. It's a great time, 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle. I couldn't make it up this year but it is well worth the trip.