In 1966, advertising consultant Stig Gavlén decided to create a giant yule goat—a traditional Christmas ornament made of straw—and put it in the town square. Gavlén’s brother Jesper, the chief of the fire department, took responsibility for the design. On Dec. 1, 1966, the 43-foot-tall goat was erected in the square. A few minutes into New Year’s Day, 1967, the Gävle Goat was on fire. It was the first act of arson in what would become a holiday tradition of violence against the animal.