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'Up Helly Aa' May Be The Coolest Viking-Themed Fire Festival Ever (PHOTOS)

01/29/2014 01:22 EST | Updated 01/29/2014 01:59 EST
Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: The Jarl Squad march around a Viking Longship before torching it on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 paraders will throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Now here's a party that'll get you fired up.

up helly aa

What you're looking at is "Up Helly Aa", the largest fire festival in all of Europe. Year after year, hundreds of locals and visitors gather in the village of Lerwick, located in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, to mark the Yule season with parades and plenty of fire.

up helly aa

up helly aa

It's kind of like Burning Man, minus the drugs and hippies. But what it lacks in '70s influences, it makes up with Vikings.

up helly aa

up helly aa

Yup. Vikings. Or at least volunteers who like to dress up like Vikings for a day.

up helly aa

up helly aa

See, "Up Helly Aa" also pays tribute to the influences early Viking explorers left on Shetland. This is where the volunteers come into play: men armour up and form a group of latter-day Vikings, known as the "Jarl Squad". They're then led by the "Guizer Jarl", the head Viking, who marches everyone towards a giant wooden Viking longboat. Once their journey is complete, "guizer" toss their lit torches to burn down the boat.

up helly aa

up helly aa

Everything then wraps up with 11 hours of visiting guest halls. Halls are open to welcome "guizers" as guests where they perform a special act. Afterwards, "guziers" pair up with the ladies in the hall for a brief dance before saying goodbye and repeating the process at the next hall.

up helly aa

Now, this year's festivities may be over but there's always 2015 to take in the fiery sights and if that's too far away, take a look at what you missed on Tuesday in the gallery below.

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Viking Up Helly Aa Fire Festival