Gustavus Celebrates Festival of St. Lucia This Thursday

The 79th annual celebration will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12 in Christ Chapel.
Posted on December 10th, 2019 by

Abigayle Paulson, Hanaa Alhosawi, Melanie Kistnasamy, Nora Hagestuen, Lily Engebretson, and Kendra Held.

Gustavus Adolphus College will celebrate its 79th annual Festival of St. Lucia at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12 in Christ Chapel. As part of this seasonal tradition, six sophomore women have been chosen to serve on the Lucia Court.

This year’s court consists of Kendra Held (Eagan, Minn.), Nora Hagestuen (Plymouth, Minn.), Lily Engebretson (St. Paul, Minn.), Abigayle Paulson (Saint Croix Falls, Wis.), Hanaa Alhosawi (Saudi Arabia via Seattle, Wash.), and Melanie Kistnasamy (Mauritius). The women are chosen based on courageous leadership, strength of character, service to others, and compassion.

The Festival of St. Lucia is one of many Swedish traditions during the Christmas season and is traditionally held on December 13. On this day in Sweden, the eldest daughter plays the role of St. Lucia by rising early in the morning to prepare and serve baked goods and coffee to her family. 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 in the College’s residence halls during the early morning hours on the day of the crowning. Lucia is chosen through a campus community vote, which took place Dec. 2-6. The crowning of St. Lucia will take place at the 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12 in Christ Chapel. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the College’s Stretch Internet, YouTube, and Facebook platforms.

A traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord luncheon will take place in Alumni Hall at 11 a.m. following the Festival of St. Lucia in Christ Chapel. The festival service is open to the public and will feature author Ellie Roscher ’02.  Ellie writes, teaches and speaks about gender, faith, bodies, justice, parenthood and simplicity. She is the author of Play Like a Girl, How Coffee Saved my Life and the forthcoming 12 Tiny Things. A limited number of luncheon tickets are available for purchase through at $25 each. For more information about the Festival of St. Lucia, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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