The Festival of Saint Lucia

The Festival of St. Lucia, which is traditionally celebrated on December 13, begins the Christmas season in Swedish custom.

 According to Swedish legend, a ship carrying a maiden "clothed in white and crowned with light" appeared on the shore in Värmland during a great famine. The maiden, widely believed to be Lucia, distributed food and clothing to the needy, thus endearing herself to the Swedish people. As a school founded by Swedish immigrants, the Gustavus Adolphus College community has found it appropriate to celebrate some Swedish traditions. 

At Gustavus a St. Lucia Court sings carols through the residence halls starting at 5 a.m. Then the community is invited to a chapel service featuring the Lucia Court, singing by the Lucia Singers choir, and the previous year's St. Lucia providing a homily during which the legend is retold. The chapel service is free and open to the public.

The service is followed by a Scandinavian smörgåsbord luncheon and program. The St. Lucia luncheon is coordinated by the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA), with invitations mailed to GLA members in late September and tickets going on sale in October. To join GLA, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at (507) 933-7520.

Legend of St. Lucia

History of St. Lucia at Gustavus


St. Lucia Festival Dates
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Thursday, December 6, 2018