Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Yule Goat

The Yule Goat is a typical Scandinavian Christmas ornament made of straw which is used as decoration throughout the home.

Before Christianity arrived in Scandinavia, the ancient Scandinavians used to celebrate the winter solstice around the same time that we celebrate Christmas today. One of those traditional winter solstice celebrations was the Yule Goat.

Yule goat (image from Yule Goat was a person disguised as a goat who went from house to house entertaining families with songs and dances, and receiving drink and food in exchange for the entertainment.

In Norse mythology, the good-natured, protective god Thor traveled around in a chariot that was drew by two magical goats. It is believed that the ancient tradition of the Yule Goat represented the magical goats who came with Thor as he visited the Scandinavian homes bringing happiness and protection at this very special time of the year.

During the 19th century the tradition of the Yule Goat started to be displaced by our modern Santa Claus. In Scandinavia the goat disguise was substituted by the jolly man in red, yet the Yule Goat was never forgotten.

Julbock, the Yule Goat (