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Encyclopedia > Yule Goat
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A Yule Goat from Uppland, Sweden.

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. Uppland ( â–¶) is a historical province or landskap on the eastern coast of Sweden. ... The term Swedish can refer to: Look up Swedish on Wiktionary, the free dictionary *anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe (List of Sweden-related topics) Swedish a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland the Swedish people (Swedes) Finland-Swedish, a variety of... Scandinavia, Fennoscandia, and the Kola Peninsula. ... Christmas (literally, the Mass of Christ) is a holiday in the Christian calendar, observed on December 25, which celebrates the birth of Jesus. ... Species See Species and subspecies A goat is a mammal in the genus Capra, which consists of nine species: the Ibex, the West Caucasian Tur, the East Caucasian Tur, the Markhor, and the Wild Goat. ... Thor carries his hammer and wears his belt of strength in this illustration from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript. ...


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. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... A classic image of Santa Claus. ...


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 verison 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 Gävle goat was the first of these goats, and remains the most famous as well as the most burnt down. A Christmas tree in a Danish home. ... Gävle [jÉ›vlÉ™] is a Swedish city in east central Sweden with 81,000 inhabitants, and the seat of Gävle Municipality (pop. ...


See also

Joulupukki is the Finnish name for Santa Claus. ...

External links

  • The yearly Gävle Goat online webcam
  • A website with pictures of decorative straw goats

 
 

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