Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

The Yule Goat

12/17/2013 10:19:00 AM

Tags: The Yule Goat, Yule Goat, Jul Bukk, Jul Bock, Goats, Christmas, Holidays, Maggie Bonham

Mocha Playing the Part of the Yule GoatIt’s been about two years since I first got my goats, so when I learned about the Yule Goat (or buck), I was intrigued. It appears that goats have been a part of Scandinavian Yule tradition longer than Christianity and have been incorporated into Christmas celebrations. Yule was basically — and still is with neo-pagans — a celebration of the winter solstice. Scholars think the Yule Goat (Jul Bukk or Jul Bock), may be a nod to Thor whose chariot is pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr.

The Yul Bukk is also the last sheaf of grain from harvest. Imbued with magical properties, I suspect farmers looked at the Yul Bukk as being lucky. Having enough of a harvest to where having sheaths of grain in Scandinavian countries probably was lucky.

By the Christian era, the Yule Goat became the symbol of Christmas. Young people walked around caroling, playing pranks, and acting out plays that would often feature the Yule Goat. Singers would receive fruit, nuts and baked goods for their songs — presumably in bad times, it was a way for the needy to get food.

The Yule Goat occasionally showed up as an invisible critter who wanted to make sure that Christmas preparations were done properly. Over time, the Yule Goat morphed into a bundle of straw bound with red ribbons that stood in the shape of a goat. People put their Yule Goats on their tree or someplace where it can enjoy the festivities.

My goats seem oblivious of Christmas or the Yule Goat festivities. Even so, they are pranksters and would appreciate the lighthearted sentiment of the Yule Goat if they understood it. And while they’d rather eat the current Yule Goat than admire it, I think it’s only fitting that goats, the oldest of the domesticated farm animals be part of the winter celebrations.

To you and yours, have a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Merry Solstice, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, or don’t celebrate. And have a very safe and Happy New Year!

Related Content

Hemp History Week: Should We Outlaw Powdered Sugar, Too?

If the DEA can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants, says a former Kentucky gover...

Where Were You When the Astronauts First Walked on the Moon?

The walk on the moon on July 20, 1969 was a monumental event, which forever changed our world perspe...

Want Goats? Come to Goat School!

Janice Spaulding teaches goat husbandry both at her farm in Maine, and around the country with her "...

Goats: Meat Goats

There are so many different “types” of goats! My last post was all about Angora goats and their fibe...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.