Author Topic: The Gavle Goat  (Read 1698 times)

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Offline Cassander

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The Gavle Goat
« on: December 25, 2009, 05:52:17 PM »
Swedish people keep making giant christmas goats and people keep burning them.  Awesome!



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The history of the Gävle Goat began in 1966. An advertising consultant, Stig Gavlén, came up with the idea of making a giant version of the traditional Swedish Yule Goat and placing it in the square. Ironically, considering its later history, the design of the first goat was assigned to his brother Jesper Gavlén, who at that time was the chief of the Gävle fire department. The construction of the goat was carried out by the Gävle fire department, and they physically erected the goat from 1966 to 1970 and 1986 to 2002. The first goat was financed by a man named Harry Ström. On 1 December 1966, a 13-metre (43 ft) tall, 7-metre (23 ft) long, 3-tonne goat was erected in the square. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the goat went up in flames.
The Gävle Goat from 2004

The goat has since had a history of being burnt down almost every year, 2009 being the 24th time. The financing for the initial goats came from a group of businessmen known as the Southern Merchants (Söders Köpmän), so named because all their members were located on the southern side of Gavleån ("Gavle river"), a river that runs through central Gävle dividing the town into north and south. In 1971, the Southern Merchants became so frustrated with the continual burning of their goats, that for 15 years they stopped building them, and the task was taken up by the Natural Science Club of the School of Vasa. The Natural Science Club's Yule Goat fared no better; in addition to being burnt and vandalised, one year it was even run over by a car.[1] English bookmakers made it possible to bet on the goat's destiny from 1988. In 1996 the Southern Merchants introduced webcams to monitor the goat 24 hours a day, with little or no success. On 27 November 2004 the Gävle Goat's homepage was hacked into and one of the two official webcams changed to display "Burn Bockjaevel" (translation: Burn the damn Goat) in the left corner of its live feed.[2] One year when guards had been posted around the goat, the temperature dropped far below zero, and the guards thought they ought to go inside to get something to warm them up. They went into a nearby restaurant, but before they even had a chance to raise their glasses they saw flames shooting from the goat outside the window.[3] 3 and 4 December 2005 was, thus far, the most violent weekend for public Yule Goats around Sweden. The Gävle Goat was burnt on December 3 and the weekend escalated into a frenzy of copycat goat-burning. The Visby goat on Gotland burned down, the Yule Goat in Söderköping, Östergötland was torched, and there was an attack on a goat located in Lycksele, Västerbotten. That goat escaped with only minor burn marks on the legs.[4][5]
The Gävle Goat from 2003

The price tag for constructing the goat is around 100,000 Swedish kronor (as of 2005). The cost for the 1966 goat was SEK 10,000.[6] The city pays one third of the cost while the Southern Merchants pay the remaining sum. Since 2003 the construction of the goat has been undertaken by a group of unemployed people (known as ALU workers). Nowadays, if the goat is burned down before Lucia (feast day of Saint Lucy, December 13), it will be rebuilt. The Gävle Goat is erected every year on the first day of Advent, which according to Western Christian tradition is in late November or early December, depending on the calendar year. In recent years, the so-called "Goat Committee" have had a plan for a backup goat. Because the fire station is close to the location of the goat, most of the time the fire can be extinguished before the robust wooden skeleton is severely damaged. The skeleton is then treated and repaired, and the goat reconstructed over it, using straw which the Goat Committee has pre-ordered.[6]

Burning the goat is an illegal act and can result in severe fines or even prison time for arson. However, during the 39 years of the Gävle Goat's history up to 2005, only four people have been caught or convicted. The burning of the Gävle Goat is not officially welcomed by the citizens of Gävle,[7] but undoubtedly it has made the goat world famous and led to increased tourism for the city.[citation needed]

The Christmas season of 2006 marked the 40th anniversary of the Gävle Goat, and, on Sunday, 3 December, the city held a large celebration in honor of the goat. The Goat Committee claimed that it was not going to be possible to set that year's goat on fire because it was fireproofed with "Fiber ProTector Fireproof", a fireproofing substance that is used in airplanes. In earlier years when the goat had been fireproofed, the dew had made the liquid drip off the goat. To prevent this from happening in 2006, "Fireproof ProTechtor Solvent Base" was applied to the goat. The Goat Committee's faith in the fireproofing for the 2006 goat led them to cut down on guards, and furthermore they boldly claimed that "the goat will never burn again". Freddy Klassmo, the spokesman for the company that provided the fireproofing in 2006, stated that "not even napalm can set fire to the goat now". The claims were not generally given much credence: even the chief of the Gävle fire brigade expressed his doubts.[8][9][10][11] But the fireproofing did its job and although the Gävle goat was scorched on one leg, it did not catch fire during the one and only attempt to burn it down on 15 December 2006. The goat was disassembled and put into storage. It re-emerged on 29 November 2007, with re-construction finished on 30 November 2007.

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« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 05:53:56 PM by Cassander »
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Offline monkey!

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Re: The Gavle Goat
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 10:46:32 AM »
Looks more like a horse than a goat.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Gavle Goat
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 10:51:40 AM »
Dad?

Offline monkey!

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Re: The Gavle Goat
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 10:56:00 AM »
Mother?
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.