About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Yule goat

The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Christmas symbols. Yule Goat originally denoted the goat that was slaughtered around Yule, but it may also indicate a goat figure made out of straw.

The function of the Yule Goat has differed throughout the ages. In Finland, the Yule Goat was originally said to be an ugly creature that frightened children, and demanded gifts at Christmas. In Scandinavia, people thought of the Yule Goat as an invisible creature that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were done right.

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. The goat was replaced by Santa Claus at the end of the century, and the tradition of the man-sized goat disappeared.

See the NPR report on this year's Yule Goat: http://www.npr.org/2014/12/01/367704535/in-swedish-town-straw-goat-for-advent-often-meets-fiery-end

Related Articles:
- How the Christmas Tree tradition started http://goo.gl/hpYcTZ
- Edible ornaments for the birds http://bit.ly/tXDnSB
- Decorate a Tree for Your Birds http://bit.ly/t3QtGV
- The Tradition of feeding the Birds at Christmas Time http://goo.gl/7ODaQ
- When did Reindeer Learn to Fly? http://bit.ly/veTLpT
- Why green, red, and white are Christmas colors http://goo.gl/Swgzv6

- Who is Jack Frost? http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2014/01/who-is-jack-frost.html