The Yule Goat is best known as a Christmas ornament made out of straw or roughly-hewn wood.
In older Scandinavian society a popular prank was to place the Yule Goat in a neighbors house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way. The modern version of the Yule Goat figure is a decorative goat made out of straw and bound with red ribbons, a popular Christmas ornament often found under the Yule tree or Christmas tree.
Darlene Nelson with a Julbocken
Large versions of this ornament are frequently erected in towns and cities around Christmas time - these goats tend to be illegally set on fire before Christmas. The Gävle goat was the first of these goats, and remains the most famous.
The Gävle Goat (known in Swedish as Julbocken i Gävle or Gävlebocken), located at Slottstorget ("Castle Square") in central Gävle, is a giant version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat figure made of straw. It is erected each year by a local association called the Southern Merchants, and another version is erected by a group of students from the Natural Science Club of the School of Vasa.
The Natural Science Club's goat holds the world record for the largest Yule Goat, but since 1994 the Southern Merchants' goats have been larger and have had more publicity. The goats have become the subject of a 'tradition' of regularly being torched by vandals.
2003 Gavle Goat
2004 Gavle Goat
Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding a goat
Julbocken by John Bauer
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