Considering that most of the Christmas icons and traditions like Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Christmas reindeer come from northern Europe, it’s no surprise that northern Europe has some of the coolest Christmas festivities. In the US, we’ve already done the annual Wal-Mart mass brawl over electronics, and in the town of Gävle, Sweden, it’s time to erect the giant straw Christmas goat— and then subsequently try to set it on fire.
To the uninitiated, the annual saga of whether or not the goat survives intact until Christmas Day, has become a tradition of Yuletide in Sweden.
The giant straw goat, which has been erected in the town’s main square, Slottstorget, every year since 1966, undergoes a battle against the elements and local arsonists every year, which splits loyalties in the town.
Half of the people take pride in the giant animal, while the other half take equal pride in attempting to burn it down. To date, the goat has been burnt down more times than it has survived the Christmas period.
Large sums of money apparently change hands, as people bet on whether it will survive, or how long it lasts before being burnt down and previous attempts to sabotage it have even included the bribing of security guards.
Each year, new ingenious methods are employed to guarantee the survival of the goat, whose story has reached the Guiness Book of World Records, and 2011 is no exception.
Those trying to protect the goat are planning to douse it in water with the idea that if it freezes, it will be much more difficult to burn down, according to daily Aftonbladet.
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