As evidenced by some of my Etsy selections and by my own personal Christmas tree, I LOVE julbocks [Swedish yule goats]. So it should come as no surprise that I also adore Gävlebocken, the massive julbock that is constructed each year at Castle Square in Gävle, Sweden. And when I say “massive,” I mean it—Gävlebocken weighs 3.6 tons and is 13 meters tall!
A holiday tradition since 1966, Gävlebocken is erected each year at the beginning of Advent, and he is made of straw and adorned with red ribbons, similar to his smaller counterparts. Gävlebocken is usually accompanied by a shorter goat, referred to as his little brother or Lillbocken.
For some weird reason, Gävlebocken is a favourite target of vandals, particularly arsonists 🙁 The poor goat has been burned down or otherwise destroyed 27 times in his history. The organization who creates the goat each year [Southern Merchants] has taken measures to try and ensure Gävlebocken’s survival, including installing a 24-hour webcam, coating the goat with ice, and soaking the straw with a variety of anti-flammable liquids.
Speaking of Gävlebocken’s webcam, you can view the live feed yourself here!
Besides watching Gävlebocken’s webcam, it’s also fun to follow him on social media—he has a lot of personality for a straw goat. Check him out on Instagram [gavlebocken] or Twitter [@Gavlebocken]. Gävlebocken even has a blog, which is particularly amusing. For example, yesterday he wrote about his little brother and said “[He] is the cutest little strawgoat you can imagine, and sometimes we play hide and seek or tag the Goat. Great fun!” Oh, and don’t fret—he posts online in Swedish and English, so you can keep up with all the goaty goings-on.
Intrigued by Gävlebocken? Shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell him God Jul or visit him this holiday season:
802 50 Gävle