The Christmas decorations in Gavle, Sweden have gone up in flames after surviving nearly a month on the downtown square. The two straw goats of Gavle are dead this time around as they were overwhelmed by intense fire and smoke damage from last night’s incident.
Swedish Christmas traditions include animal symbols that date back to pagan times. A goat made of straw and its smaller sibling were both set on fire early Friday in Gavle, 163 kilometres (101 miles) north of Stockholm, breaking what’s become a tradition.
Unknown suspect in his 40s has been detained after witnesses said he had soot on hands and matched the description of someone who started a fire that injured several people. The man is suspected to be behind an incident where only metal frames remained standing following burning down two different buildings.
The annual decoration has been destroyed or destroyed dozens of times since 1966 – when Gavle’s first straw goat, 13 meters tall and weighing three tons, was set up. A four-year period of peace was shattered by an arson attack Friday, which marked the last arson attack since 2016.
Ancient Scandinavian Yuletide symbols portray goats as gifts bringers before Santa Claus ever appeared.