Since 1966 it has been a tradition in Gävle in eastern Sweden to build a huge straw goat in the main city square, Slottstorget, in December. But already on New Year’s Eve the same year another tradition was begun – to burn the Christmas goat down.
The goat has been burned down on numerous occasions over the years. It has also been torn apart, and in 1979 it was rammed by a greaser driving a classic American car.
But in recent years the goat has a good run of luck bolstered by the goat’s straw receiving a generous lathering of fireproofing.
But this year it was decided to take the risk and the goat was not fireproofed as it was deemed to detract from its grand appearance.
“It attracted damp which made it constantly wet and became more discoloured for every week that it remained standing,” said the chairman of the Goat committee to news agency TT.
However despite the lack of fireproofing the goat has survived and stands proud in the town as residents gear up for their festive celebrations on Christmas Eve.
The only incident which has occurred this year is that a smaller goat also located on the square was torn down in the middle of December.
“I hope that watch is kept and that the Gävle goat is under guard,” said Kurt Lagerholm.
The Christmas goat in Gävle has many cousins across the country and several of them have not managed to see in Christmas.
Christmas goats have been torched in Hagfors in Värmland, Lycksele in Västerbotten and Brålanda in Västra Götaland.