The Gavle Goat is a colossal version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat. It is located at Slottstorget ("Castle Square") in central Gavle, Sweden. Each year, a local association, known as Southern Merchants, sponsors the construction of the giant Goat. Made of straw, this mammoth goat is erected on the first day of advent, depending on the calendar year. Also, another similar figure is erected by a group of students from the Natural Science Club of the School of Vasa. Though the Gavle Goat, built by the Natural Science Club, holds the world record for the largest Yule Goat, the goats of the Southern Merchants have always drawn more attention and popularity. Since its erection, there has been a great struggle between those who want burn it down and others who wish to keep it safe. Here is a detailed account of the Gavle goat.
The Christmas Goat
Total Weight: 3.6 tons
Length: 7 meters
Withers Height: 7.6 meters
Height (horns): 13 meters
Red Ribbons Used: 79.5 meters
Lamps In The Horns: 32, 16 in each of them
Legs: 2 meters (diameter)
The History Of Gavle Goat
The curious history of the Gavle Goat commences in 1966. An advertisement consultant, Stig Gavlen, proposed the construction of a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas Yule goat made of straw. The intention was to lure as many customers as possible to the shops and restaurants in the southern part of the town center. In its inaugural year, the goat was designed by Gavlen's brother, Jorgen Gavlen, who was then the chief of the Gavle fire department. The fire department was assigned the entire construction work and erected the goat each year from 1966 to 1970 and then from 1986 to 2002. The 13-metre high and 7-metre long goat, weighing 3 tons, was ready on the 2nd December. But, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat was set on fire. The perpetrator was convicted with charges of vandalism. Since then, the Gavle Goat has been burned down 24 times.
The inaugural festivities of the Gavle goat are held each year on Advent Sunday, at castle square in Gavle. The festivities are marked for their extravagance, with all sorts of performances and fireworks, and the celebration lures numerous visitors every year from all over Sweden. The Christmas season of 2006 was special in the history of Gavle goat as it marked its 40th anniversary. To celebrate the special occasion, great festivities were organized in the city in the honor of the goat on the 3rd of December. On that day, the Goat Committee revealed that the goat was now fireproofed with "Fiber ProTector Fireproof" and setting it on fire each year was not possible now.
Though often targeted by vandals, the Gavle goat has been a popular structure in Sweden and has also been a very popular tourist attraction of Sweden.