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Christian Denominations and Sects | Liturgy and Worship | Music | Scandinavian Studies

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This is a recording of Augustana College's annual celebration of the Festival of Sankta Lucia, which was filmed live in Ascension Chapel on November 29, 2021 and released online to the general public on December 13. The program features traditional Scandinavian Christmas carols, lessons, and poetry. The hymns and music are drawn especially from the historic Augustana Lutheran Church (1860-1962) and the other Swedish-American denominations in the United States. The singing is led by the Swedish language students, organist Chris Nelson, and professor Mark Safstrom. The role of Lucia is played by Emma Cintado, a senior minoring in Scandinavian studies. The program also features musicians Charlie Cathcart, Andy Frieden, Ainslie Lounsbury, Nate Wilson, and Nathan Wylie. The program was sponsored by the Scandinavian Studies Program, the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, the American Scandinavian Association at Augustana, and Campus Ministries.

About the tradition: Sankta Lucia is a holiday celebrated in all the Nordic countries to mark the return of light at the darkest time of year. A candlelight procession of singers is led by a young woman robed in white with a crown of candles on her head, to commemorate the martyred St. Lucy (d. 304 AD), whose feast day is December 13. Over the centuries, this Sicilian saint from the early Catholic Middle Ages became a fixture in Lutheran Sweden, where she came to represent the return of light to the dark, cold winter season and point toward the hope of Christmas.