The Gävle Goat is now 50 years old

In 1966, the Swedish town of Gävle started the tradition of erecting a giant goat made of straw for the Christmas holiday season, and it continues to be the leading example of same. This sounds weird out of context, but a Christmas goat made of straw is a long-standing Swedish tradition.

Anyway, the tradition began in 1966, so the goat is now 50 years old. (Note: Not actually the same goat. Because read on.)

As the goat himself blogged, "I'm bock."¹ The Gävle Goat also tweets, in both Swedish and English, and it has an Instagram account.

The Gävle Goat is famous for many things. It's an annual tradition. It holds the Guiness world record for the largest straw goat. It has a round-the-clock webcam. And most years, vandals burn it down. (Wikipedia has a rundown of the goat's fate in nearly every year of its existence.)


¹ This is a multilingual pun (my favorite kind). The Gävle Goat goes by the Swedish name Gävlebocken. which means, um, "The Gävle Goat." The Swedish word for goat is bock.

Comments (11)
  1. creaothceann says:

    And the German word “bock” means buck (among other things).

  2. Michael says:

    Actually, the Swedish word “bock” (or more specifically, “getabock”), in this context, is a *male* goat. The word for a goat of either gender is “get”.

  3. Darran Rowe says:

    The burning of the goat seems to be as traditional as the goat itself.

    1. Antonio Rodríguez says:

      The burning *is* another tradition. It’s like a game. The vandals try to burn the goat, and the city tries to prevent it. Given how easy it is to burn a straw structure that sits in the middle of a big square (my favorite one was the 2005 burning, using a fire arrow thrown by a man dressed like Santa Claus), you can guess which party is going to lose more often :-) .

  4. Ivan k says:

    Kitty cats notwithstanding, goats are kind of a black hole of YouTube. (Goat meets horse… sad about the whole human captivity thing, but you get that on earth. …. and then there’s Peggy the three legged racing goat from a few years ago. So cute.

  5. kappa says:

    Aaaand it’s gone

  6. Jonas says:

    The goat didn’t last long this year. (In swedish)

  7. Jonas says:

    The goat didn’t last long this year. (In swedish)
    But they are considering to rebuild.

  8. And someone has already burnt it down this year

  9. McBucket says:

    …aaaand, Wikipedia reports that the goat has been destroyed before its time, again, and will not be rebuilt this year.

    For years, my band played a private party in December that was meant to be a celebration of several friends’ Capricorn birthdays. A high point was always the burning of, you guessed it, the effigy of a goat. Once the goat was done, we could start our show. Always a fun time. Sadly, the organizers decided to call a halt to the yearly ritual, and even worse, the last one ended in a fizzle: freezing rain made it hard to get to the site, and just as we pulled in to the driveway, the power went out. Thus passed the glory of the Goat Party.

  10. Daniel Rose says:

    Well, that was quick. It got burned down on opening day:

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content