“It is a symbol for Gävle. It is a shame just to burn it down. We have only Ahlgrens Bilar, Brynäs and the goat,” Ewa Lindfors Karlsson told The Local, referring to the popular children’s candy and ice hockey team.
65-year-old Lindfors Karlsson is leading the group of volunteers aiming to save the goat, which is constructed predominantly of hay and has been a feature of Christmas in Gävle since the 1960s.
“We are not alone. I think the Gävle residents will stand up for this,” she said.
The town however remains divided between the groups bent on conservation and those keen on destruction with one Facebook page expressly dedicated to tracking the goat’s demise in a ball of flames.
Lindfors Karlsson said that while it is true that the burning goat briefly attracts media attention each year, the parallel tradition of the goat’s annual demise is based on a misunderstanding.
“I don’t think it’s locals burning this down. One year it was an American, if I recall.”
If the feisty sexagenarian has her way there will be a little more hircine Christmas cheer in Gävle this year and the volunteers have filed a citizenship petition to garner the support of the City Council in the battle to grant the goat a stay.
“We are a group of different ages who work within a volunteers group. We want the goat protected and have asked for support,” she told the Local.
A citizen petition is a means to raise an issue for a debate in Swedish municipalities and county councils. Some 194 of Sweden’s 290 municipalities and nine of Sweden’s counties currently offer the option.
The Gävle goat is built and guarded by a group of public and private groups who together form the Goat Committee. The Goat Committee is responsible for all matters concerning the Gävle goat.
Editor’s Note: The Local’s Swede of the Week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.
Peter Vinthagen Simpson