By Olivia Moore
Every year, since 1966, a 42.6-foot tall goat has been built in the middle of Gävle’s Castle Square. The goat weighs 3.6 tons and takes about 1000 hours to create. It is a large, straw, scaled version of the traditional Swedish Yule goat that made the Guinness Book of World Records for the first time in 1985. The original idea to design the goat was brought about by a Swedish man named Stig Gavlén, who hoped that the giant goat would bring more business to the square.
The goat has lead to other traditions among Swedish people. Every year someone tries to burn the goat down. In total, the goat has been destroyed 36 times. Burning down the goat is arson and illegal, and the people that build the goat do not build it for the purpose of being burned down. The goat was hit by a car in 1976, and it has even been burned down by an American tourist, who was told that burning it was legal. In 2009 they sprayed the goat with water so that it would form a coat of ice. The goat still burned down. The local fire department is near the goat, and despite three arson attempts in 2014, the goat survived. If the goat wasn’t continuously burned down, the city would not get as much attention as it receives. But every year, someone risks a criminal record to burn down a goat that someone took their time to build, and that has brought global attention.