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Visit Gavle, But Think Twice About Burning Its Traditional Christmas Goat
PHOTO: Sweden’s Gavle Goat stands as a testament to blind optimism that locals will refrain from burning it down . (Photo courtesy Instagram/stinahedin)
It’s nearly Christmas. Have any of you taken part in any deplorable acts of arson in the name of tradition lately?
If you are in Sweden this time of year, that may just be a real possibility.
YouTube’s Tom Scott hopped on his channel to explain one of the more unique and illegal traditions in the world.
It’s a giant goat made from what is essentially tinder in Gavle, Sweden, getting set on fire nearly every single year.
Now while it normally meets a fiery end before Christmas, it’s actually illegal to burn it down.
The massive structure and its nearly annual conflagration demise enjoy a symbiotic relationship. It has put Gavle and its celebration on the map and has drawn myriad visitors from around the world. But it has also put some intrepid souls in very hot water.
Scott explains the unique and beguiling Gavle Goat, which has already been burned down this year.
As Scott warns, tourists should refrain from joining in what they believe is nothing more than a proud tradition of setting a straw goat ablaze.
He states: “In 2001, an American tourist burned it down, and he was arrested. He said his friends had told him that burning the goat was an entirely legal tradition.”
As we find out, it’s a tradition, but not so much a legal one. This tourist was sent to jail for a couple weeks to learn the hard lesson that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
If you want to see how many goats go, this video highlights 2016’s iteration:
While you just about missed out on seeing anything but charred remains of a proud tradition this year, Visit Gavle has more information on the goat, its history and where to see it.
It all goes down in Castle Square, which is where we imagine countless visitors stop by to wonder just how long their respective goat has to live.
In an odd twist, because the constant barrage of arson attacks are discouraged, the Gavle Goat has become a huge draw to the area, bringing many to the area to find out what this intriguing figure is all about.
Count this as something we are now dying to see. However, we will refrain from smoking anywhere near it.
More by Gabe Zaldivar
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