Swedish Christmas goat burns on 50th anniversary

Every Christmas an ancient Scandinavian Yuletide character that precedes Santa Claus as a bringer of gifts, but it also attracts arsonists and seldom survives the season without someone trying to burn it down

By: AP | Stockholm | Updated: November 28, 2016 9:36 am
Sweden Christmas Goat, Scandinavian Yuletide, Yuletide tradition, chirstmas, christmas, latest news, latest world news A traditional Christmas goat is unveiled in Gavle, Sweden, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Sweden’s Christmas Goat – a giant decorative goat made of straw and wood – is celebrating its 50th birthday, but revelers are being asked to keep the candles away. (Pernilla Wahlman/TT News Agency via AP)

Every Christmas season since 1966, the city of Gavle in central Sweden builds a giant version of the straw goat, an ancient Scandinavian Yuletide character that precedes Santa Claus as a bringer of gifts, but it also attracts arsonists and seldom survives the season without someone trying to burn it down. To improve its odds this year, the goat set up on Sunday was equipped with closed-circuit TV.

Sweden’s Christmas Goat — a giant decorative goat made of straw and wood — didn’t last long on its 50th anniversary. The straw goat, an annual Yuletide tradition in the city of Gavle since 1966, went up in flames just hours after it was inaugurated on Sunday.

Arsonists just cannot stay away from the giant decoration, which seldom survives the season without someone trying to burn it down. The local newspaper Gefle Dagblad said it was set on fire late Sunday.

A webcam run by the local tourist office showed the frame of the goat was still standing but all the straw was gone. There was no immediate word on possible suspects.