Gävlebocken: The Fate of the Swedish Christmas Goat

The Julbocken or Christmas Goat made out of straw in the city of Gävle, Sweden is quite the sight to see. It holds the record for the worlds largest straw goat and I had the chance to see it last year in December. It is impressive but the best part about the Christmas Goat has to be the history surrounding it. Every year near Christmas time this giant straw goat is built up and every year there is someone or a group of people that make an attempt to burn it down. The city of Gävle has kept a history on the fate of the Christmas Goat every year dating back to 1966 when it was first created. There is actually a board near the site that you can read what happened to the goat year by year.

When I was there last year it was reported that an American man attempted to bribe one of the security guards to look the other way while he got a helicopter to come in hook it up and fly it down to Stockholm and burn it there. Supposedly one year the goat was burned down by someone using a flaming bow and arrow. I am also sure it says something about hackers putting the webcam on loop so they could hide their plan to burn the goat. That just goes to show you how much effort is put in by some people just for a piece of Swedish history. Imagine being the security guard and having all that pressure on you to guard and prevent a giant straw goat from getting burned down. Apparently the straw used on the goat is supplied by a whiskey company which I have to wonder, is it soaked in alcohol? Either way  the goat was not burned down last year so I am betting my money on it being burned down this year.

The Julbocken has a website dedicated to it and a live webcam running from when it is built until Christmas or New Years. I suggest checking it out once in a while because who knows you might get the chance to see a giant straw goat get burned down and who wouldn’t want to see that, right? Click here for the link to the webcam.

*Update Dec 1, 2011 – It appears the Goat has already been burned down judging by the webcam, my Swedish source says it was burned at 3am and only took 5 minutes, had to be the whiskey hay. You can read more about the burning here*

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