Gävle Goat: The Christmas Goat That Vandals Can’t Keep Their Hands Off

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Every year for Advent, about a month before Christmas, the town of Gavle, in Sweden, builds a giant Christmas goat out of straw. And every year, arsonists do their best to bring it down.

The goat is a giant version of the Yule Goat, which has been a Christmas tradition in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries for many centuries, although its origin has been lost to history. The Gävle goat, on the other hand, began in 1966 as a way to attract customers to the businesses and restaurants in the southern part of the city. Since then, the Gävle Goat, also known as Gavlebocken, has been a Christmas symbol built ever year on the same spot. There is also a long standing tradition of someone destroying it, year after year, earning the goat a certain amount of international fame. Over the last fifty years, the goat has been burned, knocked down, and once thrown into the river, thirty seven times. The 2016 Gävle Goat did not even last 24 hours.

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