Up Helly Aa special
Join us in celebrating Up Helly Aa, the Shetland winter fire festival! If you buy any of our Viking chocolates in January or February, I will include your name written out in runes for you.
What is Up Helly Aa?
Up Helly Aa is a winter fire festival celebrated in Shetland. Different districts in Shetland have their own local festival at slightly different times, but they all happen around this time of year, January-February time.
The best known is the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, which is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, this year on the 30/1. On this day, hundreds and hundreds of Shetland men go on a fancy-dress torch-lit procession through the streets, led by the Guizer Jarl and his Jarl Squad. I was lucky enough to attend one year, and wow what a thrill it was to see all the torches being lit at once, and hear the drums, bagpipes and singing and see all the fantastic costumes!
At the head of the parade is a full-size Viking ship, which the guizers have spent all year building in fantasy style, as if our of a Victorian adventure novel – all for the purpose of seeing it go up in flame!
The burning of the Viking Galley is the climax of the celebration, but the party of course goes on all night, with guizer acts, dancing, fiddle music, lots of food and drink and merriment.
Why not celebrate Up Helly Aa with some chocolate replicas of real Viking jewellery? Our silver- and gold-coloured Viking Hoard looks like the real thing until you taste them!
Also in our chocolate Viking range are Viking ship designs from the famous Gotland picture stones, and the beautifully cared whalebone plaque found in the island of Sanday in Orkney.
As part of my day job I teach Runology & Old Norse at the University of the Highlands and Islands. If you buy Viking chocolate in January or February, I will include your own name in runes for you.