and at no point has anyone thought “maybe we should not build a giant flammable goat this year”
They tried fireproofing. And armed guards. And fences, and cameras… Sadly the wikipedia page has been cut down by super srs folks to remove all the awesome Keystone cops tales of the goat’s history (emphasis added by me)
1966 Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of a giant goat made out of straw. But it turned out that Gavlén organisation did not have enough funding for the goat. Then Harry Ström, who at that time was the chairman of the Södra Kungsgatan Ideella Förening (a non-profit society), decided to pay the whole cost for the goat out of his own pocket. The goat stood until midnight of New Year’s Eve, when it went up in flames. The perpetrator, who was from Hofors,Gästrikland, was found and convicted of vandalism. The first goat was insured and Ström got all his money back.
1967 Nothing happened.
1968 The goat survived. A fence was built around the goat. Previously it was popular for children to play hide-and-seek inside and around the goat. There was also a rumor that one night a couple had sex inside the goat. In subsequent years the inside of the goat was protected by a chicken-wire net.
1969 The goat was burnt down on New Year’s Eve.
1970 The goat was burnt down only six hours after it was assembled. Two very drunk teenagers were connected with the crime. With help from several financial contributors the goat was reassembled out of lake reed.
1971 The Southern Merchants got tired of their goats being burned and stopped building the goat. The Natural Science Club (Naturvetenskapliga Föreningen:NF) from the School of Vasa (Vasaskolan) took over.
1984Burnt down on 12 December, the night before Lucia.
1985 The 12.5 metre (41 ft) tall goat of the Natural Science Club was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the first time. Even though the goat was enclosed by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) high metal fence, guarded by Securitas and even soldiers from the Gävle I 14 InfantryRegiment, it was burnt down in January.
1986 The merchants of Gävle decided they were willing to build the goat once again. From 1986 on two goats were built, the Southern Merchants’ and the School of Vasa’s. The big goat burnt down the night before Christmas Eve.
1987A heavily fireproofed goat was built. It got burnt down a week before Christmas.
1988 Nothing happened to the goat, but gamblers were for the first time able to gamble on the fate of the goat with English bookmakers.
1989 Again, the goat burnt down before it was assembled. Financial contributions from the public were raised to rebuild a goat that was burnt down in January. In March 1990 another goat was built, this time for the shooting of a Swedish motion picture called Black Jack.
1990Nothing happened. The goat was guarded by many volunteers.
1991 The goat was joined by an advertising sled, that turned out to be illegally built. On the morning of Christmas Eve the goat was burnt down. It was later rebuilt to be taken to Stockholm as a part of a protest campaign against the closing of the I 14 Infantry Regiment.
1992The goat was burnt down eight days after it was built. The Natural Science Club’s goat burnt down the same night. The Southern Merchants’ goat was rebuilt, but burned down on 20 December. The perpetrator of the three attacks was caught and sent to jail. The Goat Committee was founded in 1992.
1993 Once more the goat was featured in the Guinness Book of Records, the School of Vasa’s goat measured 14.9 metres (49 ft). The goat was guarded by taxis and the Swedish Home Guard. Nothing happened.
1994 Nothing happened. The goat followed the Swedish national hockey team to Italy for the World Championship in hockey.
1995 A Norwegian was arrested for attempting to burn down the goat. Burnt down on the morning of Christmas Day. Rebuilt to be standing before the 550th anniversary of Gävle county.
1996 The first time the goat was guarded by webcams, nothing happened.
1997Damaged by fireworks. The Natural Science Club’s goat was attacked too, but survived with minor damage.
1998Burnt down on 11 December, even though there was a major blizzard. Was rebuilt.
1999Burnt down only a couple of hours after it was erected. Rebuilt again before Lucia. The Natural Science Club’s goat was burnt down as well.
2000Burnt down a couple of days before New Year’s Eve. The Natural Science Club’s goat got tossed in the Gävle river.
2001 Goat set on fire on 23 December by Lawrence Jones, a 51-year-old visitor from Cleveland, Ohio, who spent 18 days in jail and was subsequently convicted and ordered to pay 100,000 Swedish kronor in damages. The court confiscated Jones’s cigarette lighter with the argument that he clearly was not able to handle it. Jones stated in court that he was no “goat burner”, and believed that he was taking part in a completely legal goat-burning tradition. After Jones was released from jail he went straight back to the US without paying his fine. As of 2006 it was still unpaid. The Natural Science Club’s goat was also burnt down.
2002 A 22 year old from Stockholm tried to set the Southern Merchants’ goat on fire, but failed, the goat receiving only minor damage. On Lucia the goat was guarded by Swedish radio and TV personality Gert Fylking.
2003Burnt down on 12 December.
2004Burnt 21 December, only three days before Christmas Eve. The fire brigade quickly arrived on the scene, but the goat could not be saved. No new goat was built.
2005Burnt by unknown vandals reportedly dressed as Santa and the gingerbread man, by shooting a flaming arrow at the goat at 21:00 on 3 December. Reconstructed on 5 December. The hunt for the arsonist responsible for the goat-burning in 2005 was featured on the weekly Swedish live broadcast TV3’s “Most Wanted" ("Efterlyst”) on 8 December.
2006 On the night of 15 December at 03:00, someone tried to set fire to the goat by dousing the right front leg in petrol (gasoline). The red ribbon on that leg was slightly burned and fell off. The lower part of the right leg was scorched, but the rest of the goat failed to light. The leg was repaired that morning. The Natural Science Club’s goat was burned at about 00:40 on 20 December; the vandals were not seen and got away. On the night of 25 December, a drunken man managed to climb up on the goat. Before the police arrived on the scene the man climbed down and disappeared. He did not try to set fire to the goat. The Southern Merchants’ goat survived New Year’s Eve and was taken down on 2 January. It is now stored in a secret location.
2007 The Natural Science Club’s goat was toppled on 13 December and was burned on the night of 24 December. The Southern Merchants’ goat survived.
2008 10,000 people turned out for the inauguration of one of the goats. No back-up goat was built to replace the main goat should the worst happen, nor was the goat treated with flame repellent (Anna Östman, spokesperson of the Goat-committee said the repellent made it look ugly in the previous years, like a brown terrier). On 16 December the Natural Science Club’s Goat was vandalised and later removed. On 26 December there was an attempt to burn down the Southern Merchants’ Goat but patriotic passers-by managed to extinguish the fire. The following day the goat finally succumbed to the flames ignited by an unknown assailant at 03:50 CET.
2009 A person attempted to set the Southern Merchants’ goat on fire the night of 7 December. An unsuccessful attempt was made to throw the Natural Science Club’s goat into the river the weekend of 11 December. The culprit then tried, again without success, to set the goat on fire. Someone stole the Natural Science Club’s goat utilizing a truck the night of 14 December. On the night of 23 December before 04:00 the South Merchant goat was set on fire and was burned to the frame, even though it had a thick layer of snow on its back. The goat had two online webcams which were put out of service by aDoS attack, instigated by computer hackers just before the burning.
2010 On the night of 2 December, arsonists made an unsuccessful attempt to burn the Natural Science Club’s goat. On 17 December, a Swedish news site reported that one of the guards tasked with protecting the Southern Merchants’ goat had been offered payment to leave his post so that the goat could be stolen via helicopter and transported to Stockholm. Both goats survived and were dismantled and returned to storage in early January 2011.
2011 The inauguration of the goat took place on 27 November. The fire-fighters of Gävle sprayed the goat with water to create a coating of ice in the hope of protecting it from arson. The goat was burnt down in the early morning of 2 December.
2012 The inauguration of the goat took place on 2 December. It was burnt just ten days later in the hours before midnight of 12 December, one day before Lucia.
2013 As in 2006 and 2007, the straw used to build the goat has been soaked in anti-flammable liquid to prevent it from burning in the event of an arson attack. The inauguration ceremony took place on 1 December. But despite the anti-flammable liquids the goat was burnt down on the early morning of December 21.
Any history of plots involving a DDoS attack on the security cameras, a plot to steal it with a helicopter and flaming arrows shot by people dressed as Santa and the Gingerbread man is just plain hilarious in my book.
the best part of christmas for a swede: betting with friends whether the goat will burn or not. haha