Sweden’s Christmas goat beats the arsonists for 19th time

TT/The Local
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Sweden’s Christmas goat beats the arsonists for 19th time
The Gävle goat photographed on Boxing Day. Photo: Visit Gävle

The giant straw Christmas goat in the city of Gävle, which is every year the subject of a battle by the authorities to prevent it being burnt down by arsonists, has survived for the 19th time in its 56-year history.


The 13-metre high goat, called Gävlebocken, had been temporarily moved this year from Slottstorget, or "castle square", to the Rådhusesplanaden, or "town hall esplanade", a change goat watchers believed could give the authorities an advantage.

The goat’s own Twitter account announced its victory in a tweet issued on Christmas Day.

“I made it. Merry Christmas,” it posted in English.


In its 56 years, the goat has been burned down 30 times and damaged in other ways seven times.


After 2016, when it was burned down within hours of being inaugurated, it remained intact until 2020, coming close to beating its four-year survival record. 

Last year, though, the goat was burnt down by a 40-year-old from Kalmar, who was later jailed for six months for aggravated vandalism and forced to pay a fine of 109,000 kronor, a deterrent that may also have increased the odds of the goat’s survival this year. 

According to the Swedish betting site Bettingsidor, it has been illegal to give odds on the goat's survival since a new Swedish gambling license came into force in 2019. 

When The Local’s journalist, Becky Waterton, asked on Twitter whether readers thought the goat would survive this year, 61.3 percent thought it would perish before Christmas Eve.



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