8 August

Goats of Yule

In Scandinavia, the Christmas gift-bringer was the Yule Goat. This is possibly connected to Thor, the son of Odin and namesake of Thursday, who rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats, but it’s also the last sheaf of grain gathered in the harvest and saved for its magical properties for the Yule festival, and these goats may or may not be connected.

These days, a Christmas fairy or gnome called a julenisse in Norway and Denmark and juletomte in Sweden is more likely to bring the presents.

Yule Goat related activities that you may like to absorb into your own traditions include:

  • decorating with goats (traditionally made of straw or wood)
  • hiding a Yule Goat in your neighbours’ house (and when they find it, they hide it in your house)[1]
  • taking a goat with you[2] when you go carolling from door to door (and also play pranks and let your audience know that the goat is demanding gifts)
  • or you could dress like a julenisse in grey, with a long white beard and a red hat.[3]
08 aug 2016.jpg
What gets your goat?

[1] Use one of the straw decorations – not a real goat.

[2] This one is a real goat.

[3] Uncle Bill does this accidentally sometimes.

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