The Yule Goat is originally a Northern
European symbol celebrated during the Yule and later Christmas. Its origin may be Germanic pagan, and the figure has existed in many forms throughout history.
A popular origin theory is that the character is derivative of traditions to worship Thor, the norse god of thunder, who captained a chariot through the sky drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. In Sweden, people believed the Yule goat to be an
invisible spirit that would appear some time before
Christmas to inspect that the Yule preparations were done correctly, demand gifts and scare off the children.
During the 19th century the Yule goat's role over
Scandinavia shifted as he transformed into the giver of
Christmas gifts, with one of the men in the family dressing up as the Yule goat. The goat was then replaced by the Jultomte (Father Christmas/Santa Claus), although he is still called the Joulupukki (Yule goat) in Finland.
Modern representations of the Yule goat are typically made of straw.
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