For more than 60 years Pacific Lutheran University has been celebrating Sankta Lucia. This year, the tradition continues on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Scandinavian Cultural Center on the campus.
Sankta Lucia, or Saint Lucia’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucia, is a Christian feast day celebrated on Dec. 13, commemorating Saint Lucia, a 3rd-century martyr who, according to legend, brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. Her feast day has become a Christian festival of light. Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucia’s Day is viewed as an event signaling the arrival of Christmastide, pointing to the arrival of the light of Christ in the calendar, on Christmas Day.
The Sankta Lucia celebration is most commonly observed in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day. In Scandinavia, Sankta Lucia is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash (symbolizing the blood of her martyrdom) with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, as songs are sung, girls dressed as Saint Lucia carry cookies and saffron buns in procession.