GAVLE, Sweden, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A giant straw Christmas goat in Gavle, Sweden, was burned down again this year by unknown assailants, officials said.
The Local reported Saturday that all that remained of the 43-foot Gavle goat was a blackened skeleton.
The newspaper reported that for decades residents have erected a traditional straw goat before Christmas in the main city square, and vandals for years have burned it to the ground.
"We have been so happy that he survived through Christmas Eve, which is the toughest period every year. We haven't applied any flame retardant the last two years and thought that he would probably survive without it," said Gavle goat committee member Anna Ostman.
The town has erected a giant straw version of the traditional yule goat since 1966. The yule goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and northern European Christmas season symbols, with its origins possibly even predating Christianity to Norse mythology.