Holiday Traditions Help Ring in the Winter Season

Posted on December 30th, 2007 by

A group of students speak at this year’s Kwanzaa banquet.

A group of students speak at this year’s Kwanzaa banquet.


The Hmong New Year was celebrated on Nov. 17 at Gustavus. (Photo by Tom Roster)

The Hmong New Year was celebrated on Nov. 17 at Gustavus. (Photo by Tom Roster)


As is tradition, the crown of St. Lucia features lighted candles.

As is tradition, the crown of St. Lucia features lighted candles.

Before any finals are taken or cars are packed up as students return home for Christmas Recess, many members of the Gustavus community take time out of their schedules to participate in one or more of the many holiday traditions celebrated on campus.

On Dec. 6, many students, staff, and faculty members filled Christ Chapel to witness sophomore Katelyn Johnson being crowned as the 2007 St. Lucia. Johnson and four fellow sophomore women were selected to serve as St. Lucia and the Lucia Court as part of a Gustavus tradition that dates back to 1941. The annual Swedish celebration is intended to commemorate the courage shown by St. Lucia who, according to legend, was put to death for being Christian and helping the poor.

This year, Dec. 6 also marked the college’s celebratory banquet in honor of the pan-African holiday Kwanzaa. Traditionally put on by the Pan African Student Organization (PASO), the event has been very successful and has twice been nominated for the Paul Magnuson Award for student leadership.

As a pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message that speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. This year’s banquet featured music, poetry, dance performances, and a keynote address by University of Minnesota professor of African American studies, Rose Brewer.

While many holiday traditions are celebrated in the month of December, the Gustavus community celebrated the Hmong New Year in mid-November. Sponsored by the Asian Cultures Club, this year’s celebration turned Alumni Hall into a festive scene with Hmong foods, traditional music, and dancing.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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