“Bad Santas…” Advent Calendar – Day 15 – The Gävle Yule Goat

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In 1966 a business association in the Swedish town of Gävle started a tradition of building a gigantic Yule Goat and displaying it in the town to promote tourism. Unfortunately for them, that same year some local residents started a tradition of setting fire to the gigantic Yule Goat at the earliest possible opportunity!

Now every year a cat-and-mouse game is played between the constructors and local youths where the builders of the goat try technique after technique to keep it standing and local youths find ways to destroy it – Yule Goats now appear elsewhere in Sweden too and often meet similar fates. In Gävle the goat goes up at the beginning of December and usually it is burned down around Lucy’s Night, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. In 1999 it was burned down within two hours of construction. It does not always get burned down though – it has also been run over, stolen and thrown in a river. Perhaps the best story is the year that security guards were hired to give the goat 24-hour protection. All went well until one night it was freezing cold and the guards nipped into a nearby restaurant to momentarily warm themselves with a shot of a spirit. They walked in and ordered their drinks. No sooner had they walked to the window and raised the glass to their lips when they glanced outside and saw the goat was already ablaze . . .

 

Bad Santas and Other Creepy Christmas Characters by Paul Hawkins is published by Simon & Schuster and available now..  The image is taken from here.

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