Campus Traditions Evoke Christmas Spirit

Sankta Lucia Pageant

CHICAGO (December 7, 2009) –The Christmas season is well underway at North Park University, with time-honored holiday traditions that both the campus and community have come to anticipate each December.

The annual Chapel Christmas carol-sing, which took place on Wednesday, December 2, kicked off the festivities and was once again marshaled by Rev. Bob Dvorak, retired superintendent of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s East Coast Conference. Dvorak led a string of carols incorporating his own brand of humor and inserting stories about selected songs, including “Good King Wenceslas,” “Deck the Halls” (with solo from Campus Pastor Judy Peterson); and “Frosty the Snowman.”

Year after year, the most anticipated musical number is always “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” during which Dvorak sections out the chapel so that each day is represented by a group of students, faculty, and staff. The groups all get a chance to sing and provide their own dramatic gestures, in an attempt to outdo the previous year’s performance.

The service concluded with the classic carol, “O Holy Night.” But the music continued into the weekend, at the University’s Festival of Lessons and Carols on Friday evening, December 4, and at the Sankta Lucia Pageant on Saturday, December 5.

The Festival of Lessons and Carols, which again took place at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, featured the University Choir, Chamber Singers, Women’s Chorale, University Orchestra, and Brass Ensemble. The program honored the birth of Jesus with a selection of short Bible readings combined with the singing of carols and hymns. Each reading was presented by members of the North Park University and greater Albany Park community.

Saturday’s Sankta Lucia Pageant featured Christmas carols, folktales, special vocal and instrumental musical selections, and a dramatic candlelight procession with “Sankta Lucia” and her court singing traditional Swedish Christmas songs. Named after the Swedish saint of light, the holiday has been celebrated by Swedes and, more recently, Scandinavian-Americans. On the morning of Sankta Lucia Day in Sweden, the eldest daughter in each family dresses in a white robe with red sash, and wears a wreath of lingonberry branches and candles on her head. She carries coffee and a breakfast of sun-colored saffron buns and gingerbread cookies to her parents in their room. Her sisters and brothers follow—the girls carrying candles and the boys wearing tall, pointed caps.

Following the pageant, the Lucia Court led the audience across campus—their path lighted by luminaries—in a “Lucia Tåg” (Lucia Train), ending at Hamming Hall, where a special “Lucia Buffé” included authentic Swedish specialties.

Enjoy another North Park tradition by visiting our online photo album with season's greetings from campus. Merry Christmas!