As we have posted before, GÃ¤vle is famous for its Christmas goat. Any town or household can have a julbocken (Christmas goat), but GÃ¤vle has a GÃ¤vlebocken.Â Over the last few days they have been assembling the Christmas goat, and today they held the opening ceremony.Â Things made of straw are generally a fire hazard, but the Christmas goat is especially vulnerable because lots of people try to burn it down. Â Here is a video of last yearâ€™s GÃ¤vlebocken burning:
At different times they have sprayed the goat with fire retardants, but it makes the goat grey and ugly, and is very unpopular.Â I think people also like the excitement and betting opportunity that comes with having a flammable goat â€“ whatâ€™s the over/under on the GÃ¤vlebocken making it to Christmas this year?Â With certain important exceptions (New Haven anyone?) things are more fun on fire. Â The municipality have installed webcams so that people can enjoy the GÃ¤vlebocken around the clock and from far away â€“ and also to identify any would-be arsonists. Â Check it out: http://www.merjuligavle.se/Bocken/Bockenkamera1/ The GÃ¤vlebocken is a very modern goat, so naturally he has a twitter account and blog .
At nearly all Christmas events in Sweden you find GlÃ¶gg (like mulled wine) and pepparkador (thin crispy ginger cookies).Â GÃ¤vlebocken opening ceremonies of course had these things as well as knÃ¤ck (a butter caramel),Â lussekattar (saffron buns), and hot dog stands.Â The invigning itself was great, with a choir competition, official opening of the goat, and a great batch of fireworks display.Â In aÂ typical display of Swedish pragmatism and safety, lots of kids had ear muffs to protect against the very noisy fireworks.Â Nice!