Monday 5 December 2016

You're kidding! Sweden's Christmas goat burns within hours

Published 28/11/2016 | 06:43

A traditional Christmas goat is unveiled in Gavle, Sweden, Sunday. Picture: Pernilla Wahlman/TT News Agency via AP
A traditional Christmas goat is unveiled in Gavle, Sweden, Sunday. Picture: Pernilla Wahlman/TT News Agency via AP

Security was stepped up this year for Sweden's Christmas Goat - a giant decorative goat made of straw and wood - but it did not last long on its 50th anniversary.

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The straw goat, an annual Yuletide tradition in the city of Gavle since 1966, went up in flames just hours after it was inaugurated on Sunday.

Arsonists just cannot stay away from the giant decoration, which seldom survives the season without someone trying to burn it down.

The local newspaper Gefle Dagblad said it was set on fire late on Sunday.

The traditional Christmas goat is seen after it was burned down in Gavle, Sweden. Picture: Pernilla Wahlman/TT News Agency via AP
The traditional Christmas goat is seen after it was burned down in Gavle, Sweden. Picture: Pernilla Wahlman/TT News Agency via AP

A webcam run by the local tourist office showed the frame of the goat was still standing but all the straw was gone.

There was no immediate word on possible suspects.

The straw goat is an ancient Scandinavian Yuletide character that precedes Santa Claus as a bringer of gifts.

Revellers are asked to keep candles away, and to improve its odds this year the goat was equipped with closed-circuit TV - but it still did not even make it into December.

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