Talk:Up Helly Aa

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Is there anyone who knows something of the history of the Up Helly Aa ?? And maybe write an article about it. As it is now there is nothing about the past...Hope someone can do anything about it !!
CHEERS, Oddrun 13:13, 29 July 2007 (MDT)

Well, I have had a go at it, not that I am much of a fan of UHA, but that 'Transvestite Tuesday' sh#te annoyed me. Where did that rubbish come from ?
Heimdal 15:17, 23 October 2007 (MDT)

Brawly Guid :-)))))
Tusen Takk
I dunna laek UHA edder, bit dan I never needed an excuse fur a PU,, or transvestitism ;-)
Guid question tho,,,, whaur did dis idea o men i tights come fae,,, Robin Hood perhaps?? :-))))
Robbie 16:03, 23 October 2007 (MDT)

Why do some people want to conceal the fact that women are banned from taking part in Up Helly aa? Everyone in Shetland knows that that is the case! Is the aim to hide it from the outside world!!

I was always told, while staying in the toon some years ago, that females were NOT banned from participating in the parade etc by the organisers, rather it was a simple case of adhering to the traditional role of hostesses which the roots and origins of the festival by their nature and circumstances had made necessary back then. I suppose you could say that, if, as I have heard, their is a waiting list to join squads, and/or for new squads entering, females would have to join the end of that queue, and might not necessarily move up that list as quickly as a male, then that could be argued to be a circumstancial "ban", ie. a ban in all but name, but even if it is, that is something wholly different to having "No Females allowed in Squads" listed in the rules. Which is the point of fact at issue.
OTOH. Has any female ever tried to join a squad, has a squad of females ever been formed and tried to join the festival, what happened if they did? If no-one has, the "rule" has never been tested, and therefor to remain factual whatever is actually stated in the rule book can be the only way to go.
Ghostrider 05:54, 2 November 2007 (MDT)

Onywye, jist ta pit a tocht upö dis. Whit wid da weemin dö i a squad.????
Fö can weemin really git inta transvestitism i'less dey pit on blue boilersuits an toories, an do a skyte upö Boon ;-)
Hit's queer dat da Brae, an idder UHA pish-ups, hae weemin i dir squads. So whit wye no Lerook????
Ansers written wi a beesom upö a peerie mail caird. tae:
Robbie 10:29, 2 November 2007 (MDT)

PS... Wid onybody laek tae ken whit weemin laek ta do upö UHA nicht, wi da guizers, dat wid tell fur why dey dunna geeng i squads???
I cud say, bit dat wid meybe hae ta be edited upö grunds o no wantin spaek aboot nookie upö da site.
Robbie 10:36, 2 November 2007 (MDT)

It isn't correct to say that the tar-barreling predecessor of Up Helly Aa dates to the 1870s. It is several decades older than that. Furthermore, the tar-barrelers had their predecessors too, back to c.1815.


Largs/I.O.M./Odin's Raven(?)/Dim Riv etc

Does the above ring any bells for anybody? Late 70's/early 80's?

Didn't the Jarl Squad of the day go to Largs? Celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Largs maybe? The 'Odin's Raven' (I think that was her name) was a scale replica of a Viking Longship which was sailed from Norway to the I.O.M. for the I.O.M. Millennium celebrations (1978?), I found a couple of pictures (not very good ones) of her lying over in Lerwick en route. Would I be right in thinking her existence/presence sowed the first seeds of the idea of building the Dim Riv?

If anyone can recall fuller details, it all put together should make an interesting additional UHA related page?

Ghostrider 11:37, 28 February 2008 (MST) The only thing Ive found .....
Cheers --Oddrun 12:42, 28 February 2008 (MST)

Oppps one pic ;-)

The pic of 'Odin's Raven' makes her look far more formidable ship than she did lying at the foot of the steps in the inner north corner of Victoria Pier in Lerwick, there she looked not much more than a stretched, narrow beamed yoal. ;-))
The whole Largs trip/I.O.M./Dim Riv building thing is going to need someone with knowledge to write it up though. I remember it all going on at around the same time, but in exactly what order, I've long since forgotten. I don't even recall if the Jarl squad just went to Largs, or if they went to the I.O.M. well, and the Dim Riv, at least as far as the general public (ie the likes of me!) were concerned, it was a project undertaken, loosely at least by the UHA comittee etc, so not a lot of info was going around unless you were "in the know".
Ghostrider 14:26, 28 February 2008 (MST)

EM is the guy for this subject. I have no doubt that he has the answer to your question, so if he's not online soon, try a PM to him.
Robbie 14:45, 28 February 2008 (MST)

It is indeed one of my favourite topics and the Dim Riv is also moored in my "garden." I must confess, however, that I am not very knowledgable on a lot of the Dim Riv planning. Their site is here. It hasn't been updated since last spring.
With respect to the inspiration I think it fair to say that there was quite a general wish to emulate the various replicas which have been built around the world. Having said that, It is interesting to point out that in the early 70's for several years there was a smaller galley moored at the sooth end. You can see a picture here. This model (she was not a proper boat) was based on the Junior Galley and created as an improvement on my previous effort which had been a "Loch Ness Monster" :-) Both were ultimately destroyed in gales.
EM 14:53, 28 February 2008 (MST)

Yes,,,well,, EM.
I've just spent ages trying to explain to Oddrun that the Dim Riv, is at best an exhibition item for tourists on visiting liners.. And that the only reason it still exists is that, in Lerwick the Up Helly Aa galley is burned in a playpark, and not on the water.. :-))))
But, on a more sensible note.
I also explained to Oddrun about seeing the Loki moored "in your garden". I think that the Loki deserves a page on Shetlopedia. Would you like to do something about that???
Robbie 15:01, 28 February 2008 (MST)

"at best an exhibition item" ??? Cheeky indeed :-) She is not a replica of any specific Viking ship, but was built by one of the greatest Shetland boat builders and is still in remarkably good condition.
As for the Loki, yes this can be arranged. I have a webpage somewhere (not online or handy) with images and some history. Will try and find it.
Incidently, the other boat visible in the small galley picture I linked above is very interesting. She is the "Jane Herdman" and was built for Derek Flinn to use during his remarkable and extensive geological site visits all around Shetland. Classic Whalsay lines.
EM 15:17, 28 February 2008 (MST)

Yup,,, I know it was very cheeky,, but how do you explain a vessel such as that to a viking??? :-)) ;-). Although I have to admit that Norwegians aren't really vikings now.... Ducking for cover ;-)
Seriously again. It would be great if you could make a Loki page. There's over 100 years of history in her, and it deserves to be told to as wide an audience as possible.
Re. the "Jane Herdman", never heard about her,, maybe another page??? :-)
Robbie 15:41, 28 February 2008 (MST)

More so a big page on Derek Flinn generally. It would be difficult to overstate his contribution to the understanding of Shetland geology, and additionally his book Travellers in a bygone Shetland is a masterpiece.
EM 15:50, 28 February 2008 (MST)

That's another book for me and Oddrun's 'wanted list' then. Afraid I'm showing my complete ignorance by never having heard of him, or the book. So I will await the page with anticipation. :-)
Robbie 15:57, 28 February 2008 (MST)


Just noticed the date info here isn't correct: "until, in 1881, a procession was held on 29th January, the date being Up Helly-Aa day, or the 24th day after Yule,"

The first torchlight procession for UHA was actually 1880. 1881 is sometimes cited because it was quite a big deal and really established the idea. The 1881 procession was requested by the people organising the welcome for the Duke of Edinburgh which coincided with the opening of the Town Hall. The 1881 UHA was brought forward from the 29th to the 24th to suit the visit. The 1880 procession was on the usual date.
EM 05:25, 8 January 2009 (MST)

Thanks for spotting that EM. I believe I did see 1880 written someplace, now you mention it. I think there might be other errors in our UHA info, so it would be great if you could look through it, as a toon resident who's more likely to know about UHA, and amend as required.
I would imagine there will be errors in the Years pages as well because the same incorrect dates were likely added there as well.
Robbie 07:48, 8 January 2009 (MST)

I can't change it (or the front page version either) due to protection. As for the UHA material generally, I intended to upload a pile of stuff over the summer, add some pages (Junior UHA for example and more Galley material) and revamp some of the existing stuff. Needless to say, hasn't happened yet ;-)
EM 16:06, 8 January 2009 (MST)

Sometimes I could quite happily kick Gary's arse for forgetting to do things.... I told him weeks ago to upgrade you to sysop status so that you could edit protected pages. But, as usual, Gary forgot to do it. (Gary, as your read this you are allowed to blush with embarrassment.) I'll PM him to get it sorted ASAP.
Robbie 16:21, 8 January 2009 (MST)
PM sent to Gary. 2 minutes ago. Hopefully it will wake him up. ;-)
Robbie 16:27, 8 January 2009 (MST)

My apologies, I did forget about that. I've upgraded EM now so please test and let me know. Cheers. GaryWiki 17:12, 8 January 2009 (MST)

Ha! Maybe too soon with my upgrade! It was 1881! The Duke visited in 1882 (to lay a stone, not open as I incorrectly said above). More info on that here, but the statement there about 1882 being the first procession isn't so, it was the previous year 1881.
When I read "upgraded" I can't help hear it said by a Cyberman :-S
EM 18:56, 8 January 2009 (MST)

Thanks Gary. :-) And don't worry about the bad memory, it happens to us all,,,, as we get old. ;-) :-))))
Robbie 22:29, 8 January 2009 (MST)

Up Helly-Aa Name

I've copied this from the category talk, as likely everybody missed it:
--- I know this will sound like a nightmare suggestion. But we use "Up Helly-Aa", whilst the official UHA website uses "Up-Helly-Aa". The extra hyphen has been bugging me for a while, but in keeping with the idea we adopted for other things such as the business pages, should we consider renaming to use the same title as the UHA website? At this point it would only be a few hundred edits, but if we let it carry on any further it will become impossible to do it. I have noticed that the extra hyphen seems to make no difference to search engines, so changing wouldn't affect our page hit results. Robbie 13:43, 1 February 2009 (MST) ---
Any thoughts????
Robbie 09:15, 2 February 2009 (MST)

When it comes to what is the official term I think the situation can best be summed up that there is no single correct spelling. At different times the committee has tried to recommend a particular spelling, but even they are not consistent. I grew up in the "Up Helly Aa," "Up Helly-Aa" and "Up-Helly-Aa" period, so I still tend to use the unhyphenated "Aa" form (or just UHA). At the start of the 80's the committee decided to go back to the older "A'" form and have used this pretty much since, though the "Aa" forms are still used. As noted on their site the early "An Earnest Appeal" document uses "Uphelly 'A."
I would suggest leaving the existing "Up Helly-Aa" terms because changing them would not make it any more correct.
EM 10:03, 2 February 2009 (MST)

Thanks EM. :-) I'll sleep much better now. As I said, it doesn't seem to affect search engine results, so is of no real consequence. At least we can say we've decided upon the matter, rather than have it raised again when it would require thousands of edits. :-))))
Robbie 10:09, 2 February 2009 (MST)

Winged helmets?

I'm a bit loathe to do it, but couldn't someone write about the historical inaccuracies in UHA costumes?

There's no archaeological evidence that Vikings wore horned helmets, AFAIK, and that's got more to do with Wagner than the old Vikings.

Also, I gather a lot of elements of UHA are traditional, but some are not. It would be interesting to see the traditional elements (e.g. fire stuff) contrasted with the non-traditional elements from 19th century romanticism e.g. horned/winged helmets.

The horned/winged helmet stuff has been pretty much disproven.

"There is no evidence, archaeological or otherwise, that Viking warriors wore any type of horns or wings on their helmets. What we do have is one single piece of evidence, the ninth century Oseberg tapestry, suggesting a rare ceremonial use (the relevant figure on the tapestry may even be that of a god, rather than representative of real Vikings) and plenty of evidence for plain conical/domed helmets made mainly of leather."

--Pett 08:42, 20 June 2011 (MDT)

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