Reader's Digest International - - Letters -

The Vik­ings are on the loose again, at least in Shet­land! Here the Scot­tish is­landers revel in re­liv­ing the Mid­dle Ages—once ev­ery year. On the last Tues­day of Jan­uary, lo­cal men dress as Norse­men, com­plete with axes and torches, to cel­e­brate

Up Helly Aa, a tra­di­tional fes­ti­val of fire. Car­ry­ing a long boat through the streets of Ler­wick while gather­ing up to 1,000 pa­raders, the cli­max comes at the end of the jour­ney, when par­tic­i­pants throw their torches into the ves­sel, set­ting it ablaze in a spec­tac­u­lar of­fer­ing to the gods of old. Af­ter the boys are done play­ing, the women re­join their men in the lo­cal pubs, where the cel­e­brat­ing con­tin­ues well into the night.

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