Swedish Christmas goat engulfed in flames - again

This photo taken Dec. 8, 2012, shows the Gavle Goat (known in Swedish as Julbocken i Gävle or Gävlebocken), located at Slottstorget "Castle Square" in central Gavle, a giant version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat figure made of straw. Not even a layer of ice was enough to keep three people from torching the giant straw goat in the Swedish town where the annual challenge of charring it to the ground has become an unusual Christmas tradition for vandals. The 13-meter (43 foot) high and 3.6 ton heavy straw goat in the Swedish town of Gavle, meant to symbolize the seasonal spirit, was engulfed in flames for the 26th time overnight Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, after the assailants crossed the fence surrounding it before setting it on fire. (AP Photo/Scanpix, Fredrik Sandberg) SWEDEN OUT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Vandals in Sweden have burned down for the 27th time a giant straw goat meant to symbolize Christmas spirit.

The 13-meter (43-foot) high and 3.6-ton heavy straw goat was engulfed in flames early Saturday after unidentified assailants attacked it in the Swedish town of Gavle, 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Stockholm.

The straw goat is a centuries-old Scandinavian yule symbol that preceded Santa Claus as the bringer of gifts.

Since 1966, when the tradition of erecting the giant straw goat in the town square was introduced, Vandals have burnt it down 27 times.