Document Type



Media is loading


Other: (please specify below)

Publication Date



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

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

This is a recording of Augustana College's annual celebration of the Festival of Sankta Lucia, which was pre-recorded in Ascension Chapel on November 19, 2020 and released online to the general public on December 13. The singing is by the Swedish language students, led by pianist Chris Nelson and professor Mark Safstrom. The role of Lucia is shared by Abby Berry and Alex Hart, seniors minoring and majoring in Scandinavian studies. The program also features musicians Charlie Cathcart, Noel Huntley, Ainslie Lounsbury, Anthony Roldan, Nate Wilson, and Nathan Wylie. The program was sponsored by the Scandinavian Studies Program, the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, and the American Scandinavian Association at Augustana.

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, the 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. The music in Augustana's annual program features Scandinavian Christmas carols and hymns drawn especially from the historic Augustana Lutheran Church (1860-1962) and the other Swedish-American denominations in the United States.