Gävle's Christmas goat begins battle against the arsonists

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
Gävle's Christmas goat begins battle against the arsonists
The Gävlebocken Christmas goat shortly before being inaugurated on December 3rd. Photo: Mats Åstrand/TT

The Christmas goat in the Swedish city of Gävle was officially inaugurated on Sunday, beginning the authorities' annual struggle to prevent it being burned down.


The goat,called Gävlebocken, is famed around the world for the annual battle between anonymous arsonists who try to burn it down and the city authorities, who try to keep it intact until after Christmas.

Over its 57-year-history, the arsonists have the advantage, with the goat burning down slightly more often than it has stayed intact.

READ ALSO: The weirdest attacks on Gävle's straw yule goat

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

It burned down again just before Christmas in 2021, however, with a man with soot on his hands arrested near the scene of the crime. In 2022, it beat the arsonists for the 19th time

Problems with this autumn's harvest have meant that the straw of which the goat is built is both shorter and have a different colour, giving the goat a shaggier, more haystack-like appearance this year.

"This is because of the harvest," Anna-Karin Niemann, communications chief at Gävle municipality, told public broadcaster SVT.


"First we had a very warm early summer, and then it rained like crazy, and so that's been a big challenge. But we have extremely skilled and practiced goat-builders, so they've done it brilliantly."


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also