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Up Helly Aa is a traditional festival of fire in Shetland, an archipelago off the northern coast of Scotland. The spectacular annual event celebrates the influence of the Vikings who invaded the islands around 1,200 years ago.

This year's festivities came to a climax on Tuesday evening when around 1,000 'guizers' — men dressed in Viking armor — hauled a longboat through the streets of Lerwick and then hurled their flaming torches aboard the ship to set it ablaze.

Participants dressed as Vikings light their burning brands as they take part in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on Jan. 28, 2014.ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP - Getty Images
The Up Helly Aa 'Jarl Squad' marches through the streets of Lerwick.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Guizers young and old prepare for a long day of festivities with a hearty breakfast.ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP - Getty Images