The function of the Yule Goat has differed throughout the ages. In Finland, the Yule Goat was originally said to be an ugly creature that frightened children, and demanded gifts at Christmas. In Scandinavia, people thought of the Yule Goat as an invisible creature that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were done right. The goat was replaced by jultomte or julenisse (Father Christmas/Santa Claus) at the end of the century, and the tradition of the man-sized goat disappeared.
One of the men was dressed up as the Yule Goat, while the others pretended to slaughter it. During the singing, different slaughter tools were brought in, and the dance ended with the Yule Goat being slaughtered, and then it would wake up again.