Goatwatch, The Sequel

14 November 2007 at 22:20 3 comments

If you’ve clicked about this blog, you may notice that I have an inordinate fascination for an enormous straw goat in a Swedish town called Gävle*.

In Sweden at Christmas time, you can find small straw goats decorating people’s homes and Christmas trees. The town boosters in Gävle** decided to go the tradition one further and set up the world’s largest straw Christmas goat (Julbock, in Swedish) in the town square. They erected the first Julbock in 1966, and in the 40 years since more than half of the goats have been destroyed or damaged by anonymous vandals.

To find out more about the Gävle Julbock and the variety of ignominious ends it’s met over the years, check out my first Goatwatch post from last year.

According to the Gävle Christmas site, this year’s Julbock will be on display starting December 2, Skyltsöndag. Skyltsöndag is the Swedish equivalent of Black Friday, the first official day of the holiday shopping season. Outside the big cities, stores (at least other than grocery stores) are typically closed Sundays in Sweden. On Skyltsöndag — literally “Display Sunday” — stores decorate their windows with special holiday displays and open for Christmas shopping.

And for the first time ever, the goat will have a blog, apparently in his own voice. I can’t even imagine what he’ll post when the vandals try to burn him down again. Perhaps that’s the point. If the miscreants know the goat will describe the agony of his injuries, maybe they’ll think twice about trying to burn him down.

* An interesting bit of Gävle trivia: if you mispronounce the town’s name — that is, if you say yehv-luh, instead of yev-leh — you’re actually saying a common Swedish curse word.

** Yet another interesting bit of Gävle trivia: The Gevalia in Gevalia Coffee is the latinized version of the town’s name.


Entry filed under: Folklore, Humor, NaBloPoMo, Sweden. Tags: , , , .

Wacky Swedish Word of the Day The End of “Artisanal”?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marilyn Butler  |  25 November 2007 at 16:39

    OK, I am obsessed with the goat too. I can’t wait for his blog to start up. I’ll be sure to check back here for commentary.

  • […] I logged on to AIM for a few minutes and ended up talking to my friend Marilyn — another of the Gävlebock’s fans. She wanted to know if I’d been checking the goat’s blog […]

  • 3. Thomas Wayne  |  4 January 2008 at 22:50

    I follow this story every year now, and am disappointed that no one managed to burn the main one down last year or this year. To me, “fireproof” constitutes a challenge, especially when they say “not even napalm can set fire to the goat now”. These people just aren’t trying hard enough.

    I know the townfolk there might not like the idea of it burning down, but that’s what has increased tourism there and made them somewhat famous. Plus, what says Christmas like a giant burning 43-foot tall straw goat? It’s awesome. 🙂


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