A small but lively fire festival on the island of Bressay.

Bressay Up Helly Aa
1 Mar 2024

The tradition of Up Helly Aa has been alive in Bressay since the early 1930s, although the festival has not run annually since then.

The first festival was held in 1930, and only a few details are known about it: the first galley was built at the fish processing factory, and consisted of a painted Shetland Model, with a tail and head added.

There were no further festivals after 1934 as the hall, which at that time was a Kirk Hall, was not allowed to be used for the purpose.

The festival was re-established in 1962 however, after a public meeting was held to gauge interest. Bressay Up Helly Aa has been held annually ever since.

The event is very much a community affair with men and women participating in the torch-lit procession. The galley burning is followed by a night of revelry, music and dancing in the Bressay Hall.