The Julbock or Yule-goat is a ubiquitous symbol of the winter holidays in Scandinavian countries. A throwback to Pre-Christian times, the Julbock is another Pagan Yule symbol that was absorbed into Christian holiday customs. In the Norse pagan religion, the goat was the conveyance of the gods- early images of Odin in a goat-drawn cart are eerily similar to later depictions of Santa Claus.
As Christianity became the norm, the Yule-goat remained popular as a trickster figure, a stand-in for the devil who accompanied the elf Tomten, and later, St Nick, on gift-giving missions. It became customary for men of the villages to dress up as the julbock and play pranks on the unsuspecting.
Today, the Julbock is most often represented in modern times by a straw figurine of a goat, traditionally made from the last grain of the harvest, bundled in red ribbons and kept as a token of hope for the New Year.
|Tomten and the Julbock|