The spectacle of Vikings tearing through Lerwick's streets, culminating in the burning of the galley on a dark January evening is something many people outwith these remote islands can't even imagine. Fortunately, on Up Helly Aa day, Shetland finds itself at the centre of the national and international media's attention, allowing those who have never attended the festival to get an idea of what it is all about.
We've scoured the world wide web to find as much of the coverage as we can, and we've collated it here so that you can see just how widely covered the festival really is.
First up, here are some impressive galleries from skilled photographers who were in attendance. This year's Up Helly Aa was an extra special one for NB Communication, with two of our staff, David Nicol and Chris Thomson, taking part as members of the Jarl Squad - see if you can spot them in any of the galleries!
- NB's David Gifford also took Up Helly Aa day off, and managed to capture some impressive images throughout. Click here to check out some of David's favourites. (Note: Scroll right for more Up Helly Aa photos).
- Another local photographer, Dave Donaldson, uploaded this gallery, featuring loads of photos from the morning and evening processions, as well as Jarl Squad's visits to Lerwick's primary schools.
- Brian Gray Photography also uploaded this gallery of great shots of the Jarl Squad during their morning march through the town centre.
- Chris Brown also had a busy day behind the camera, following the Jarl Squad for 24 hours, capturing 272 photographs in the process. See them here.
- Colin Keldie travelled up from Orkney for the big day, and the result was this gallery of great shots
Many of the United Kingdom's biggest news publications brought the news of the festival to a nationwide audience via articles on their websites.
- The Telegraph documented the day in pictures, and Chris made the cut! (Image 19, on the right).
- The Sun also published an image-led article, which you can read by clicking here.
- The Guardian followed the lead of the other news outlets and posted this image gallery, with both David and Chris making appearances. However, one disgruntled commenter disapproved of their breakfast choices...
"A proper viking would not eat a pre-prepared sandwich for breakfast. These pale imitators should man up and swallow a hearty chunk of salted blubber then wash it down with a stoop of fine ale before marching about the place starting unnecessary fires and upsetting decent law abiding Scottish folk".
Up Helly Aa often features on the televised news too, and this year was no different. This clip is taken from STV's 'Live At Five' news show:
Many people are documenting their adventures around the world through blogging these days, and some of these travellers stopped along Shetland to take in this year's festival. Here are a couple of posts we've managed to find (please do share any more if you happen to come across them):
Shetland often doesn't even appear on maps of the United Kingdom (or at least not without being boxed off into the corned...), but on the last Tuesday of January, the World's journalists pick up on the festivities.
We've managed to track down coverage from North America to the Far East and everywhere in between. Some of these reports need to be translated into English, and often lead to some interesting descriptions of events! (Note: Your browser should offer to translate all foreign-language articles for you!)
- United States of America
Major networks such as ABC and NBC managed to break away from the latest updates on their new President to share some articles and photo galleries of the festival. Up Helly Aa even picked up some coverage in more local American news outlets, for example, The Baltimore Sun.
This French news outlet, La Croix, led with the dramatic headline "Halloween At Valhalla", while travel website Jetlag dubbed it "one of the most mythical viking festivals that exists".
Il Post shared many of the images seen in the British press from the day, along with a short article to describe the day to Italians, while The Post Internazionale proclaimed the 2017 edition to be "as epic as ever".
The Hungarians reported that Lerwick's carpenters had a busy few months preparing for the event, and even shared some YouTube videos on news website Hirado.hu.
We're not sure about the Mexicans claiming that our vikings were 'dressed in kilts', but nevertheless, Up Helly Aa featured on national news website, Excelsior.
- South Africa
Up Helly Aa 2017 appeared as a small tidbit on iAfrica's "Images of the Week".
The South China Morning Post reported on Up Helly Aa by sharing this image gallery and accompanying article.
The news of Up Helly Aa 2017 even reached as far as Indonesia, as The Tribun declared it to be a "legendary festival" and "the most unique tradition in Scotland".
If you happen to come across any other interesting articles on Up Helly Aa, from any part of the World, we'd love to take a look, so feel free to contact us share them with us!
Updated on the 24th February
Following a plea to our readers, we found out that Up Helly Aa also hit the headlines in:
Lawrence Henderson reported the festival was mentioned in national papers and the television 6 o'clock News in Melbourne. Lawrence sent us a link to the digital edition of the Western Australian.
Dirk Kroeger shared with us a fiery article from the Neue Westfälische.
Finally we discovered that Up Helly Aa was also acknowledged in Teleexpress, Poland’s daily 5 o’clock news programme and Poland’s public television network TVP put together a peerie article.
Many thanks to our friends and followers for the feedback.