‘Absolutely wonderful news’ – Up Helly Aa for Aa delighted women allowed in squads

The group who campaigned for women to be allowed in Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ have said they are “more than delighted” by news the festival will no longer have gender restrictions.

Up Helly Aa for Aa said today’s (Wednesday) announcement was “absolutely wonderful” and “something that members of our community have been asking for over a long period of time”.

“We are more than delighted that the UHA committee has listened to folk who want the festival to be inclusive.

“This is a great day for our inclusive Shetland community.

“We look forward to hearing more details and look forward to seeing an inclusive jarl squad lead the procession in future processions.”

It follows today’s announcement that there will be no gender restrictions on squads for the 2023 festival.

The fire festival, the largest of the isles events, has long resisted calls to allow women and girls to join squads.

But in a historic announcement, the committee said today (Wednesday) they had decided to relax the long-standing custom of only allowing men and boys to be in squads.


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