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Gävle Goat survives Christmas Eve

TT/The Local · 25 Dec 2010, 10:33

Published: 25 Dec 2010 10:33 GMT+01:00

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The town of Gävle is possibly best known for its celebrated Christmas Goat (Julbocken) which has been erected in the town's main square, Slottstorget, every year since 1966. While half the town takes pride in the straw goat, the other half takes equal pride in attempts to burn it down. To date, the goat has been burnt down more times than it has survived the Christmas period.

This year, a record level of security seems to have paid off and the goat has made it through to Christmas Day, despite many efforts, including an attempt to bribe the security guard to the tune of 50,000 kronor ($7000).

The threat to goat, which stands 13 metres tall is not over yet, as the plan is for it to stand until the 3rd of January when it will be dismantled properly. Even the police know that they cannot rest on their laurels even though the goat has survived this long

"We'll see if it's still standing for New Year" Göran Lyrberg from Gävle police told reporters.

In 2008, the goat survived Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, only to be burnt down on December 27th.

Story continues below…

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:59 December 25, 2010 by Ravioli
It's still standing?? I think that we are going to have to call in an airstrike on the goat. It must burn.
11:03 December 25, 2010 by byke
It would be interesting to see how much tax money was spent on such and the additional security and man power used to protect it?
12:08 December 25, 2010 by Deffiz
While I'm not a resident of Gävle, I think the author is mistaken in his/her presumption that pride in the goat and pride in BURNING the goat are mutually exclusive.

Personally, I think they should make the burning part of the official celebration, perhaps with an unwritten rule "not before Christmas" for example.

Rather than covering it in chemicals designed to suppress fires, they could focus their efforts on making it burn SAFELY.
13:52 December 25, 2010 by Swedesmith
If they could keep it up until Valborgsmässafton, it would make a heck of a blaze. Protecting it until that time might be a problem...perhaps if they had a couple of Palace Guards in place...
14:12 December 25, 2010 by Dr. Dillner

I like your leadership on this issue -- very well considered. This would save us all much security angst.
14:28 December 25, 2010 by Douglas Garner
The publicity is priceless in either case!
15:14 December 25, 2010 by eltechno
I have a brother who was 20 years a firefighter in central Florida. Has been following the Gavle Julboken story for several years now with professional interest in how it is protected. But he also is a guy who hated small-town life and got himself into some scrapes with the law as a teenager for minor things. So would he cheer or show disgust if the goat burned? Well, I found out a couple of years ago when he called to tell me had had seen the goat burn on a webcam--he was roaring with laughter--mostly about how determined and resourceful the Gavle youth had been in getting it burning.

The Gavle Julboken is a warm, funny story.
19:56 December 25, 2010 by Alohart
According to , at least some of the Gävlebocken protection cost is offset from the proceeds of sales of small souvenir Gävlebockar.

Also, fire retardant was used only in 2006-7, but it darkened the straw and attracted moisture so is no longer used.
20:47 December 25, 2010 by charubun pananon
It would be better to made many many straw goats, since they are burn down, it will be more warm for the residents in this town.
21:34 December 25, 2010 by dammen
personally I love the julbock - it is well worth the 200 km round trip to take the kids to Gävle to see it. I am glad it managed so long this year. Long live the Julbock!
21:43 December 25, 2010 by Tennessee Thunder
My god,,Swedish people are so stupid,,guarding a straw goat with tax money.

00:11 December 26, 2010 by TwoToTango
Not everything is about money. Tennessee.
04:47 December 26, 2010 by Garry Jones
It should be protected and besides they have a new police cheif in Gävle, the goat will never burn again...
05:25 December 26, 2010 by Gamla Hälsingebock
Oh, my poor Kusin!

Every year demented people take pleasure in trying to kill him!

The poor guy never hurt a soul, he is a kind and loving Kusin that is well thought of by his family and friends.

He has worked hard at goat school and served his apprenticeship with honors, to make his lifelong dream come true... and it is a great honor for him to be picked to represent the spirit of Sweden and YES all the Christian world as an honored symbol of Christmas in Gävle and Norrland.

Those that plot to harm him may feel the wrath of the creatures from the heart of the darkest Norrland forests, and it will be swift and harsh.


Gamla Hälsingebock...LOL
11:01 December 26, 2010 by Tennessee Thunder
@Two to tango,,When my tax money goes to some Swedish bullshit like this,,it is all about the money.,,what a bunch of dumb asses.
14:41 December 26, 2010 by Garry Jones
Tennessee Thunder....

Wait a minute. Tax money is paid locally. The residents of Gävle have voted for their local goverment and in democracy we accept that we are accountable for the decisions of the politicians we elect. If we don't like it we vote them out.

However have you considered how much tax money is saved? The local security staff have more work and more spending power. The "goat" is a tourist attraction and attracts more people into the town to spend money. Petrol companies, bus companies, train service companies do better. But most of all the shops sell more stock. This means they can employ a few more staff. This means less people will be on the dole, less people on social warefare and this saves a lot of "your" tax money.

Ps. Does anyone remember the American that burnt it down? He was sent to prison for 18 days and ordered to pay 100 000 crowns in costs. He sneaked out of Sweden and Sweden has not persued the matter in the US. It is terrible that a criminal can get away with paying a fine just because he made it to the border. I think America should hand him over.
16:34 December 26, 2010 by j joy
Hey Tennessee Thunder, you would make a perfect Scrooge. Bah Humbug!

The Goat more than likely brings in more money than is spent on it. You can't always think about money and taxes; sometimes one must think about joy.

Merry Christmas! I'm going to continue to follow the goat story from now on.

Garry Jones, you say an American burnt it down once? He was probably encouraged by his mischief-making Swedish cousins. Smile.
00:26 December 27, 2010 by gabeltoon
Tennessee Thunder, tell me this "What national traditions" do you have ?? I'm a SCOTSMAN and i think it's great that SWEDEN still honours its traditions along with we SCOTS. Not everything in life is centred around money. TRY DOING WITHOUT. AT least the SWEDES have a tradition to be proud of and gives pleasure to ALL at this time of year.
06:26 December 27, 2010 by UScitizen
Priorities! This goat is being guarded better than the Royal Palace!
22:01 December 27, 2010 by Syftfel
@Tennessee Thunder! Our tax money is a hell of lot better spent guarding the julbock in Gävle than to spend it on wasteful, ridiculous, pathetic, unnecessary, unacceptable, social programs!!!
17:23 December 28, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
It is a Christmas Miracle!
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