Vandals have continued one of the strangest traditions of the Christmas season: they’ve burned down Sweden’s beloved Yule Goat.
The giant straw goat, set up annually in the town of Gävle, is attacked by arsonists regularly ― so often, in fact, that it’s more likely to burn down than make it through the season intact.
This year’s edition was about 42 feet tall and supposed to be a little harder to burn. The Local reports that it was equipped with cameras and protected by two guards.
Local politicians even offered a “goat guarantee” that it would survive at least through this weekend, the 50th anniversary of the tradition, according to the news site.
Instead, the “Gävlebocken” goat met its fate on Sunday... the “opening night” of the season’s festivities.
”There will be a great, great sadness for Gävle residents, the Gävle goat and for all of its fans over the world,” event spokeswoman Maria Wallberg told Sweden’s TT news, according to UPI.
She said someone threw a molotov cocktail at the goat, igniting the blaze.
The goat took to Twitter with a promise to rise again like a phoenix:
UPI reports that the goat has now been burned in 35 of its 50 years.
Here’s a before-and-after of the 2004 goat:
Here’s what was left of the 2009 goat:
The 2013 goat met a similar fate:
The Local said event organizers were trying to determine if it’s possible to rebuild the goat, which took 1,000 hours to create and cost nearly $250,000, in time for Christmas.
However, a post on the city’s Facebook page in “tribute to our missing friend” suggests it’s over for the 2016 goat.
“You looked exceptionally handsome,” the tribute concludes. “See you again in about a year.”
The BBC reports that the arson is under investigation, but no arrests have been made.