straw goat - Julbocken
goat originally was a symbol of the devil who accompanied St
Nicolaus in the Medieval Plays. That figure - the goat as the
devil - took place in the rural pranks which is told about from
the seventeenth century in Sweden. At that time, men dressed as
a goat with fur skins and sometimes masks and sometimes horns
too went around to frighten people usually in the night between
Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That can be the origin of the
Christmas Goat ("julbocken").
goat gradually became a nicer being. In the eighteenth century
the Christmas goat was the being coming with the gifts. He is
nowadays replaced by the Christmas Man, at first similar to the
brownie who lived in the barn of the farms, but now the American
type similar to the Santa Claus is what you see.
about a hundred years ago some people began to make goats of
straw - at first as a joke -and they put that goat anonymously
in the porch of neighbours or friends and usually a piece of
paper with a funny or naughty rhyme was attached to the straw
goat. Why did they use red ribbons when binding the straw
together? I think that is because we connect the red color with
Christmas, but that i my own opinion. But as a child I have seen
old straw goats which were bound with straw too.
goats bound with usually red ribbons are a very common Christmas
decoration in Sweden and sold at every Christmas market. They
really are very nice!