Sophomore Nicole Ektnitphong of Worthington, Minn., was crowned St. Lucia on Thursday morning in Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College’s 72nd annual Festival of St. Lucia.
Every year five or six sophomore women are chosen to serve on the College’s St. Lucia Court based on courageous leadership, strength of character, service to others, and compassion. This year’s court included Ektnitphong, Maura Bremer of Mahtomedi, Minn., Danielle Cabrera of Napa, Calif., Carolyn Draayer of Deephaven, Minn., Mara LeBlanc of Richfield, Minn., and Nikki Rom of Littlefork, Minn.
The Festival of St. Lucia begins the Christmas season in Swedish custom and is traditionally held on Dec. 13. On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter plays the role of St. Lucia by preparing and serving baked goods and coffee to her family at sunrise. Wearing a crown of lighted candles, Lucia represents the return of light that will end the long winter nights and serves as a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season.
At Gustavus, the St. Lucia Court traditionally sings carols through the College’s residence halls during the early morning hours on the day of the crowning and a traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord luncheon typically follows the ceremony. St. Lucia is chose through a campus community vote.
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