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Yule Goat


Yule Goat

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A Yule Goat from Uppland, Sweden.
A Yule Goat from Uppland, Sweden.
Julbocken by John Bauer
Julbocken by John Bauer
Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas on riding a goat.  Perhaps an evolved version of the Swedish Tomte.
Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas on riding a goat. Perhaps an evolved version of the Swedish Tomte.

The Yule Goat (Sw. julbock) is one of the oldest Scandinavian Christmas symbols. Its origins might go as far back as to pre-Christian days, where goats where connected to the god Thor, who rode the sky in a wagon drawn by goats.

The function of the Yule Goat has differed throughout the ages. As far as until the 19th century, youths would go from house to house during Christmas time to perform small plays or sing Yule Goat songs, with one of the people in the group dressed up as the Yule Goat. During the 19th century its role shifted towards becoming the giver of Christmas gifts, with one of the men in the family dressing up as the Yule Goat. This tradition would have the goat replaced with the jultomte (Santa Claus) at the end of the century, and the tradition of the man-sized goat disappeared.

The Yule Goat can also be a figure, often made out of straw or roughly-hewn wood. In older Scandinavian society a popular prank was to place the Yule Goat in a neighbour's house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way. The modern version of the Yule Goat figure is a decorative goat made out of straw and bound with red ribbons, a popular Christmas ornament often found under the Christmas tree. Large versions of this ornament are frequently erected in towns and cities around Christmas time -- these goats tend to be set on fire before Christmas, a tradition that is also illegal and certainly unasked for by the goat makers. The Gvle goat was the first of these goats, and remains the most famous as well as the most burnt down.

See also

External links

Home | Up | Santa Claus | Biblical Magi | Caganer | Christkind | Companions of Saint Nicholas | Ded Moroz | Dzied Maroz | Elf | Father Christmas | Joulupukki | Julemanden | Kris Kringle | La Befana | Moş Gerilă | Mr. Bingle | Mrs. Claus | Saint Nicholas | Olentzero | Pre Nol | Santa Claus' reindeer | Ti de Nadal | Tomte | Yule Goat | Yule Lads

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.