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Gävle goat's little brother torched

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Gävle goat's little brother torched
12:05 CET+01:00
It has become something of a Swedish Christmas tradition for the famous Gävle goat">Gävle goat to be burned by vandals. But while that goat has so far survived intact this year, its smaller and less famous brother in Lycksele, northern Sweden, has been destroyed.

Fire officers were called to the straw goat in the town's main square at half past midnight on Thursday night.

"It is true that the goat has burned. The fire brigade attended and hosed it down," said Dan Andersson of Umeå police.

A number of towns in Sweden erect straw goats in their main squares over the Christmas period. The straw goat of Gävle, first erected in 1966, has been burned many times in the run-up to Christmas.

Pyromaniacs in Lycksele "appear to be taking over the Gävle tradition," said Andersson, who expressed disappointment that the ornament had been destroyed.

"It wasn't enormous, but it's a shame it couldn't be allowed to survive," he said.

The goat's association with the yuletide season is believed to derive from pagan Scandinavian religion. In the 18th century the Christmas goat fulfilled a role similar to that of Santa Claus. These days, straw goats are used by many as seasonal decorations.

People keen to see whether the Gävle goat makes it to Christmas can now follow its fate via webcam.

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