North Park University to Host Annual Sankta Lucia Pageant December 8

Sankta Lucia Pageant
The University's Sankta Lucia pageant features University students in the Scandinavian Studies program, Swedish language program, and students who are from Scandinavian countries.

Washington senior to be 'Sankta Lucia' in University and city pageants

CHICAGO (November 30, 2012) — North Park University senior Eva Larson will play the role of Sankta Lucia, a patron saint of Christian churches, in the University's annual Sankta Lucia pageant at 4:00 pm December 8, in Anderson Chapel. The pageant is a traditional Advent celebration similar to events honoring the saint held in Scandinavian and other European countries.

Following the pageant is a traditional Scandinavian smörgåsbord in Hamming Hall. Both events are sponsored by the University's Center for Scandinavian Studies.

According to legend, Lucia was a young girl who was persecuted for her faith in God, and died a martyr in 304 A.D. She is associated with light in the darkness, and the hospitality of food and drink. The traditional date of the festival of Sankta Lucia is December 13, celebrating light returning to the world on the darkest day of the year, just as her faith brought light to a dark period for early Christians. In pageants, the Sankta Lucia wears a crown with lighted candles, and is accompanied by a court, including "star boys," who carry stars.

Each year, a senior woman in the Scandinavian Studies program is chosen to represent Lucia. Larson, of Vashon Island, Wash., will graduate from the University next month, with a double major in Media Studies and Scandinavian Studies. "Lucia is very close to my heart," she said. "I have been participating in various Lucia pageants since I was in the first grade. I think that it is a really beautiful service and a lot of fun for everyone involved."  Larson's home congregation, First Covenant Church, Seattle, hosts a similar event – Julfest – that celebrates ancestors and the Swedish Christmas traditions, and includes a Lucia procession, children's and adult choirs, and Scripture readings, she said.

At the North Park pageant, students in the Scandinavian Studies and Swedish language programs will read the Christmas story in English and Swedish from the Gospel of Luke, tell of Christmas traditions in Scandinavia and here in the United States, and recall the story of Sankta Lucia. Swedish Christmas carols will be sung. Students from Sweden, Norway, and Iceland will also participate. About 400 people are expected to attend.

Tickets for the pageant are $5 per person, $10 per family, and may be purchased in advance or at the door the day of the performance. Tickets for the pageant and smörgåsbord are $15 for adults, and $10 for children under age 12. Tickets must be purchased or reserved in advance online or by calling (773) 244-5592.

Larson will also represent the University in the City of Chicago's Sankta Lucia pageant, December 13 at the Daley Center. That event will include a performance by the North Park University Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Julia Davids, assistant professor and the Stephen J. Hendrickson Endowed Chair in Music, School of Music.

North Park University was founded in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), a Christian denomination formed by Swedish immigrants. North Park University is affiliated with the ECC, and maintains a connection to its Swedish and Scandinavian roots through academic programs and other cultural exchanges.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Purchase tickets for Sankta Lucia.

Learn more about Scandinavian studies and bilaterial exchange programs.