Sweden and its famous goat Gavle

Last week, we looked at some of the things going on around Seattle to celebrate the holiday season. This week we drill down on something a little (Okay, a lot) further away than SoDo or the Sheraton downtown: The Gavle goat.

I first heard about Gavlebocken last Christmas when Starbucks decided to put the superstar on the side of some of their holiday cups.

Some may already know the history of Gavlebocken but it traces back to European holiday traditions and since its creation by Stu Gavlen in 1966, the giant straw goat effigy has become an international superstar, complete with its own twitter.

As of last year, Gavle has been damaged or destroyed 37 times. Webcams set in the city center monitor the 13-meter tall straw goat looking for assailants who try to destroy the goat.



In 2016, mere hours after it had been erected an arsonist came through and razed the tradition to the ground. This caused Gavle’s handlers to make a more concerted effort in keeping the goat from meeting its untimely demise. They doubled up on their fences, adding another and making them twice as tall.

It worked! As reported by the BBC, Gavle was still happily sending out tweets days after Christmas Day.

Of the 37 times Gavle has gone up in flames, the arguably-most-notorious vandal made the trip to the small Swedish town from Cleveland, OH.

The man in question spent 18 days in prison, had his lighter confiscated and was directed to pay a fine of 100,000 kr or about $11,000 which he did not pay before returning to the United States.

It and some of the other unique attacks on Gavle have been chronicled here. Suffice to say, an American traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to burn a straw goat is not the craziest thing you will read about today.

Check in with Gavelbocken at its website and check in with ThirdLeaf NW to get a free trial of our healthy snack delivery service!


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