Up Helly Aa 2021 Postponed

Up Helly Aa 2021, due to be held on Tuesday 26th January, has been postponed for a year. The Up Helly Aa Committee made the unanimous decision following a period of consultation with key partners of the festival.

The decision has been an extremely hard one to make but the Committee have a responsibility to the community of Shetland to ensure the festival does not contribute to the spread of Covid-19. The nature of Up Helly Aa, the numbers involved and the potential of large numbers of visitors to the Isles are all risks that were taken into account.

The festival going ahead in its current format, would be difficult with any restrictions in place and with uncertainty surrounding what guidance would be in place in January meant there was no guarantee the festival could happen at all.

The health and safety of the community, participants and the many volunteers it takes to deliver the festival was the priority of Committee members when making the decision.

The 2021 festival will now take place on Tuesday 25th January 2022.

Welcome to Up Helly Aa

Welcome to the official website for Up Helly Aa, which takes place in Lerwick, Shetland, on the last Tuesday in January every year. Up Helly Aa day involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley.


Up Helly Aa is a community event, with countless volunteers contributing many hours each winter towards organising and planning the following year’s festival.

The Guizer Jarl and his squad begin their preparations in February, and many long hours of hard work go into the design and production of their fabulous outfits.

The Up Helly Aa Committee begin their year preparing the Up Helly Aa Exhibition that runs from May until September in the Galley Shed. This boasts a full size Galley, Jarl Squad suits, other Squads memorabilia and an extensive collection of photographs recording the suits worn and the guizers involved.

In early September the Guizers of the remaining 46 squads begin their squad meetings and preparations. This involves determining the character(s) that they wish to portray with their suits, making the suits while also creating and practising their act to perform in the halls they visit through out the evening.

At the end of September the Galley shed is transformed back into to a working shed where the Galley and the torches are constructed during the winter. During this same period the Committee progress preparations including the Collecting Sheet and Bill.

Up Helly Aa Seal

We hope you enjoy the site and the information it provides.

Up Helly Aa Committee