Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's always about the goats

Now, I don't know exactly what my problem is, but it seems I can't avoid a story about goats, even constructed Christmas goats, like the one the city of Gavle, Sweden has every year.

Apparently it is a tradition of this burg to construct a 43-foot high straw billy goat, for reasons unknown (a Trojan Christmas goat? the merry goats of Christmas? who knows?), every Christmas, since 1966. 22 times the goat has been burned to the ground, which makes the burning of the goat almost as much of a tradition as the goat itself. Police reported that one of the men running from the burning goat was Father Christmas himself, who apparently spends the days leading up to his Christmas flight in goat burning activities and other Christmas mayhem.

The frustrated citizens have done everything to prevent the burning of the goat, including fire proofing, security cameras, and guards, to no avail. How about just don't build the goat? Or build one out of steel, and make it a permanent fixture in the town?

I don't know, but someone sure got this town's goat.


Mike said...

Ahem, “The culprits are seldom caught. However, an American tourist spent 18 days in jail after being convicted of setting it alight in December 2001.” OK, Mel, Scruffy American, where were you guys in December 2001???

Going by the picture in that link, it’s a very… symbolic(?) ‘goat’ – maybe folks just don’t like it?

melusina said...

Man, I love goats! Unlike you Greeks, who raise them from babies and then kill them and eat them for Easter dinner!

I think the Christmas goat is cool, like the lights and stuff, but really, I don't get the symbolism.

oskar said...

I'm from Sweden, so I know a little about the Christmas goat in Gävle.

Actually, the Christmans goat in Gävle is a giant version of a common traditional Christmas decoration (made out of straw as well) here in Sweden.

Thanks to the annual burning of the giant straw goat in Gävle, the town has gotten quite a lot of publicity and tourists. Not building it or building it out of steel isn't really an option.

melusina said...

Thanks for the insight, oskar. I just have this thing with goats so I find it all rather amusing.