Page 59 - Autumn Brilliance - We Wish You A Scary Christmas! Winter 2020
P. 59

   The Yule Goat
Good Yule – from a 19th century card by Jenny Nyström
 In ancient Germanic countries, the earliest version of a ‘Santa Claus’ was the Nordic god, Thor. He rode the skies in a chariot pulled by two goats. The Yule Goat is an enduring symbol to this day, with ornaments created from sticks, straws and festooned with bright ribbons in the rough shape of a goat. This celebrated ungulate is still seen in Scandinavia as well as parts of Eastern Europe, including Poland and Germany.
And, much like the traditions of British wassailing, the Nordic people go julebukking, sharing the holiday custom of going from door to door, singing their carols and in return, receiving food, drink and other things (it’s all very trick-or-treaty, you see!). Toward the latter end of the 19th century, the Yule Goat was eventually being replaced by the more mainstream Christian ‘Father Christmas’ known in contemporary European culture.
  Straw sculpture of a Yule Goat
in modern-day Sweden
Source: Wikipedia
Long before the onset of Christianity in the Nordic regions, the Scandinavians would celebrate the winter solstice, which is about the same time modern Christmas is observed (within a few days).
Yule goats were often slaughtered for the occasion.

   57   58   59   60   61