Vikings descended on a city school yesterday – but they came in peace to deliver a lesson in history and culture to children.
The South Mainland Up Helly Aa group from Shetland climbed aboard their longboat and made the trip to Danestone Primary School to give an assembly to children.
The company’s leader and guizer jarl Kvedulf Bjalfason, known as Ulf, led the group into the school yelling and chanting, much to the excitement of the packed assembly hall.
They kicked things off with a jolly, traditional Viking song, which children clapped and cheered along to with the 25-strong group, in full battle dress.
Then in his full gear head teacher George Roberts, who has Shetland heritage, shared history of the Vikings to a fascinated young crowd, as well as showing videos of how costumes were made, the longboat was built, and the annual fire ceremonies.
The jarl also visited Forehill Primary and Heathryburn School. The group stopped off in Aberdeen on its way to the Spirit of Speyside Festival.
Guizer jarl Ulf Bjalfason, said: “I’ve been doing this since about 2009. It makes the kids’ day. Seeing their reactions makes it all worth it. It’s been good fun, we always enjoy going out to the schools. It is hard work to get everything ready but you always want to make a good job of what you’re doing.”
George Roberts, head teacher at Danestone Primary, enjoyed sharing his Shetland heritage with the children.
He said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful. I’ve enjoyed bringing my Shetland heritage to Aberdeen. It takes 80 to 100 hours to make every costume and it’s all hand-made, so it’s a big job.
“The children put up with me having a big beard so I promised them I’d bring my Viking friends to the school to see them.
“It’s important to learn about our own cultures, and to do that, it’s good to look at other people’s cultures so we can compare them with our own.
“A big part of our curriculum is about celebrating diversity. It’s good to have differences and to celebrate them.”