Modern-Day Vikings Are Still Scary As Hell

The annual Up Helly Aa festival ended in a fiery celebration of Viking-style mayhem.
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The annual Up Helly Aa festival ended in a fiery celebration of Viking-style mayhem.

More than a thousand Viking descendants descended on the small town of Lerwick in Scotland on Tuesday to partake in the annual Viking celebration of Up Helly Aa, which roughly translates to "fun with fire while screaming loudly." Celebrants included men and women of all ages reenacting Norse traditions while also hauling a ship into the center of town, having a party, and then burning it to the ground. Up Helly Aa marks the official end of the tradition holiday season and was originally celebrated by young men rolling flaming barrels of tar through towns across Scotland. When this entirely reasonable practice was outlawed in 1876, this torch procession replaced it. That means that yesterday's semi-riot actually represented a compromise.

Burning Man, eat your heart out. 

Photos by Danny Lawson/PA Wire