Giant straw goat torched in arson attack

This year's goat lasted for nearly a month (Reuters)
This year's goat lasted for nearly a month (Reuters)

A 25-year-old man has been arrested for setting fire to a giant decorative goat in Sweden.

While the straw goat is a beloved Christmas symbol in Gavle, a city in central Sweden, over the years it's also become somewhat of a tradition to set it ablaze.

This year's goat lasted for nearly a month before going up in flames early on Sunday (local time).

Police arrested a 25-year-old man dressed in a balaclava and clothes which smelled strongly of lighter fluid, the Associated Press reports, with his hair scorched and face covered in soot.

He has been charged with arson and will be questioned once he has sobered up, police said.

Ancient Scandinavian Yuletide tradition preceding Santa Claus has the goat as the bringer of gifts, rather than the big man in red known today. An enlarged version of the figure has been erected by community groups in Gavle annually since 1966.

Over the years various iterations of the goat have been vandalised 37 times, including in 2005 when it was shot with a flaming arrow by a duo reportedly dressed as Santa and a gingerbread man.

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