The two straw goats of Gavle, Sweden’s most endangered Christmas decorations, have gone up in flames after surviving nearly a month in a central square.
Goats are a beloved Swedish Christmas symbol dating back to pagan times, but in what has become a tradition of sorts in Gavle, 100 miles north of Stockholm, arsonists destroyed a giant decorative goat made of straw and a smaller sibling.
Only the metal frames were left standing.
A suspect in his 40s was detained.
Police said the man allegedly had soot on his hands and matched a description given by witnesses, who said the fire started in the small goat before spreading to the larger one.
Since Gavle’s first straw goat — 43ft feet tall and weighing three tons — was erected in 1966, the annual decoration has been burnt or smashed dozens of times, once before it was even finished.
The last time arsonists struck was in 2016, but a record four-year period of peace was shattered on Friday.
The goat is an ancient Scandinavian Yuletide symbol that preceded Santa Claus as the bringer of gifts.