Once again, the annual Christmas tradition in Gavle, Sweden is intact. The goat got it.
Arsonists set fire early on Wednesday to a giant straw statue of the Swedish Yule goat, a forerunner to Santa Claus in Sweden, defying security measures for a third year in a row.
Police in Gavle, north of Stockholm, said an unknown number of attackers had torched the goat in the early morning hours, leaving a blackened skeleton standing in the town square.
“It’s a tradition to burn it down,” Lofberg said. “It’s happened an untold number of times since the 1960s … it’s been burned down more years than it’s survived.”
Burning the goat has been a popular, and illegal, tradition in Gavle since the 1960s when an advertising executive first came up with the idea to endow the city with a giant replica of the goat, a Christmas decoration common in many Swedish homes.
We here at Blue Crab Boulevard have been following the goat tradition since 2006. (Here and here. We missed in 2007.) At this point, the city fathers of Gavle should realize that trying to stop the annual torching of the goat is a losing proposition. Why not go with the flow and start a festival that burns an effigy at the end. In other words, let Burning Goat become the Swedish version of Burning Man.
We’re guessing it would be a bigger economic boon to the city than the straw goat.
We expect credit for the suggestion.