The Swedish Yule Goat, it burns! (video)

Sweden’s famed Yule Goat was set aflame yet again this year in what has become an annual tradition, even though the local authorities are branding the perpetrators as “vandals.”

Every year the city of Gavle, Sweden puts up a huge, Trojan-horse like “Yule Goat” as a sign of the coming Christmas. It’s a long-time tradition in Scandinavia:

The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Its origin may be Germanic pagan, and the figure have existed in many variants during Scandinavian history. Today, the Yule Goat is typically a goat figure made of straw.[1] The custom of wassailing is sometimes called “going Yule Goat” in Scandinavia.

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Moments before this year’s goat burst into flame. More photos, and video, below.

And every year, someone tries to set the Yule Goat aflame. And this year was no different. A local Web cam caught the quite-flammable animal turning into a pylon of lame last night around midnight.

Of course in America, we would simply shoot it.

More on Gavle’s Yule Goat from my Swedish blogger friend Björn in Stockholm:

Well, its a traditional thing to make goats out of straw. I believe that the goat had the same role as Santa Claus back in the day.

The city of Gävle decided to place itself on the map some 40 or so years ago by building the biggest goat ever. Of course, more straw means more entertainment to arsonists, and i think most goats have eventually been burned to a crisp. The amount of commitment the locals put into burning down this now heavily guarded – fenced up – goat is nothing short of stunning. There has been archery with flaming arrows, trucks breaking down the fence, and now a hacker attack to take out the surveilence cameras. Of course, the more guarded it is, the more people will want to burn it down. Deep down, all Swedes are rooting for the arsonists, and no one has ever been caught.

But it must be burnt down before christmas (24th), or there will be much disappointment. There is something strange to our national character.

But yeah, it has placed Gävle on the map alright.

The goat burned in 2009, but survived in 2010, only to burn in 2011.

Here’s the video, courtesy of Aftonbladet, and below are screen caps from the video of the vandals setting the goat aflame.  As it burns, it actually looks like the Trojan Horse.

And here are screen captures of the video, for those who can’t see it:

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

Swedish Yule Goat Burns

The Swedish Yule Goat burns


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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10 Responses to “The Swedish Yule Goat, it burns! (video)”

  1. BeccaM says:

    A great many things, including a flame-oriented opera. But the whole event is centered around the burning of the giant Man.

    Here’s a book written about Burning Man by a good friend of mine, Lee Gilmore:

  2. Do things actually “burn” at Burning Man?

  3. BeccaM says:

    Upon seeing the first photo, my own reaction was, “Yeah, that f**ker definitely would be improved by being set on fire. Practically begging for it, really.”

    Of course, I’ve been to Burning Man several times…

  4. Much misconstruction and bitterness are spared to
    him who thinks naturally upon what he owes to others rather than what he
    ought to expect from them.

  5. OtterQueen says:

    Burning Goat?

  6. yeah, it’s awesome.

  7. It’s a LONG tradition of burning the thing, as Bjorn mentioned, the whole country basically roots, and waits, for it.

  8. Magnus Haraldsson says:

    You’re missing a good perspective. I find it glorious.

  9. karmanot says:

    Am I missing something? I find it disgusting.

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