Yule goats are a Christmas Swedish tradition, but each year Gävle, a small city of 100,000 inhabitants, takes it to another level by hosting the world’s largest straw goat.
The unexpected story of Gävle’s gigantic traditional Swedish Yule Goat – ‘Gävlebocken’ – started as a way to attract customers to the southern parts of the City in 1966. Since then, the 13-meter high super goat has been placed in the Slottstorget square every single year.
Despite winning a Guinness World Record for its size, it’s the goat's fiery fate that is most famous.
In fact, the goat usually ends up in flames long before Christmas comes around.
Over its five-decade history, it has survived only 15 times. Most years, the goat has been either burned down, stolen or vandalised.
Perhaps the oddest attempt on the goat’s life happened in 2010 where thieves planned to kidnap the emblematic goat using a helicopter in an attempt to take it to Stureplan, Stockholm. But there are many more strange and unusual stories of Gävle Goat attacks throughout the years.
Last year, there were emotional celebrations in Gävle over the survival of the straw goat through the entirety of Christmas 2017. In fact, its survival was celebrated like a World Cup Win.
Every year, gamblers bet on the goat surviving the season. But for its annual return this year, with reinforced security, the goat might make it until Boxing Day.
So far, so good says the Gävlebocken’s official Twitter page with over 15,000 followers. However, it never fully lets its guard down…
I repeat last years message: don't go harassing goats at 3 am. It will backfire.
— Gävlebocken (@Gavlebocken) 7 December 2018