Gävlebocken (The Gävle Goat)

gavlebocken Gävlebocken (The Gävle Goat)In a small city north of Stockholm, 5,000 onlookers welcome a giant Goat as it is unveiled each year around Yule. For several decades now, the Gävle Goat has made a historical mark in Gävle history as it is either sacrificed or spared during the Winter.

In 1969 the goat was burned on New Year’s Eve.

In 1970 the first goat burned six hours after it was erected. Two heavily intoxicated youths were tied to the crime. With contributions from several donors, the goat was rebuilt, this time of reeds.

In 1971 the local merchants who had previously built the goat abandoned the project, tired of seeing it burn each year. The science association at the Vasaskolan upper secondary school took over. Their little goat was broken to pieces.

In 1972 the goat collapsed due to sabotage.

It’s a Guiness Book record holder – probably for all times, but I haven’t checked that factoid out. I love the idea of a massive, miscellaneous craft project brought to local cheers and jeers. It’s unclear to me how the whole thing got started back in 1966, but it’s town tradition now that triumphs through all manner of abuse. I mentioned to a friend of mine in Sweden that my family should start our own goat (Gradinbocken) to display at the house and arouse further suspicions that we were…off. He pointed out that anyone late to that party may not notice something as obvious as a 1,300lb straw goat either. Still, it’s a worthy venture I think! Anyone want to start a Gainesville tradition? Maybe a Godzilla-sized chicken would be more appropriate…