November 19, 2007

Santa, Got Yer Goat?

This from a little wikipedia search, which means it's probably completely inaccurate:

The Yule Goat (Sw. julbock) is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and 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 a pair of goats.
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 in the group dressed up as the Yule Goat. In Finland, the Yule Goat was originally said to be an ugly creature that frightened children, and demanded gifts at Christmas. During the 19th century its role shifted towards becoming the giver of Christmas gifts, in Finland as well as the rest of Scandinavia, 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.
The Yule Goat is nowadys best known as a Christmas ornament, 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 version 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 dangerous, 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.

Upon reading this, I realize that JV and this Wikipedia writer have the same editor. Oh!
I learned of this from a little flyer I got from the Museum of Science and Industry, advertising this exhibit
I will certainly visit this!

And, while I am strapped for time (I promise much fuller posts in the coming days, when I have a chance to breathe), here is a song about a Christmas Donkey. I have trouble differentiating between goats and donkeys sometimes. Shut up Nicole.

Lou Monte: Dominic the Donkey

More soon. Promise. How about those Buckeyes!


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