There are Christmas traditions and then there are those other Christmas traditions. Every year since 1966, a 13m Yulbocken or Christmas goat or is erected in the town hall square in the Gävle in the north of Sweden. This goat is a Christmas symbol in Scandinavia, and traditionally he used to bring the presents. However, during the 50 year history of Gävlebocken (the Gävle Goat), it has been attacked or destroyed 34 times.
The first goat was built by the chief of Gävle’s fire department, whose brother was an advertising consultant and came up with the idea of building a giant Swedish Christmas goat and placing it in the town square square. In 1976 it was rammed by a car, in 1998 someone managed to burn it down during a blizzard, and in 2005, it was most bizarrely attacked by people dressed as Santa Claus and gingerbread men carrying bows and arrows.
This year, its 50th anniversary, this iconic goat was burned down on the day it was inaugurated. Apparently, the local council spent 2.3 million Swedish kroner on its construction and opening event. Anyway, rather than rebuild the original goat, the organisers brought in a smaller goat built by local school pupils. But sadly someone drove a car into it, so it too has been destroyed.
So, there we have the sad story of the Christmas goat. Maybe next year he’ll stay intact until Christmas Eve?
Pictures and references from The Local – http://www.thelocal.se