Christmas Goat Friday
source w schedin
A traditional feature of Christmas in Sweden has been the Julbock, the Christmas Goat.
The nature of its role is subject to dispute, where the Julbock is sometimes thought to be closely associated with Tomte, the gnomish Swede equivalent of Santa Claus — or sometimes not at all.
Strangely, no one seems to know anymore. Swedish Christmas lore seems to have become mainstreamed in line with the rest of the Western world. Tomte himself, apparently, no longer resides under the floorboards but at the North Pole, as a good commercial Santa should.
Still, the Julbock remains central to the Swedes’ celebration of Christmas. Notably there’s the gigantic straw goat of Gävle, 150 kilometers north of Stockholm, which has been erected at the start of the Christmas season every year since 1966.
This year standing at more than 13 meters high, the Gävlebocken is intended to be ceremonially burned on New Years Eve as part of the seasonal festivities. However, part of this relatively recent tradition seems to be for sundry vandals to pre-emptively burn or otherwise destroy the thing almost as soon as it has been erected.
Since it was first erected on Dec. 3 in 1966, the goat has been hit by flaming arrows, run over by a car and even had its legs cut off — surviving only 10 times beyond Christmas Day.
So, it appears the Gävlebocken still has a sporting chance. May this unique yuletide tradition long continue.
With that upbeat thought, I take this opportunity to wish everyone
Happy New Year