Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana kicks off the holiday season


Augustana students, family, alumni and faculty kicked off the holiday season with the annual ‘Christmas at Augustana’ celebration and a Christmas Dinner on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Augustana has been hosting different holiday events since the school was first founded. Between Thanksgiving break and winter break, many organizations and offices on campus put on their own holiday celebrations.

With the holiday season here at Augustana already set off, the next big event was the annual Christmas Tree Lighting that took place Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the lower quad, right in front of Old Main. There, students joined President Bahls in lighting up the campus Christmas tree while also enjoying a life size snow globe.

Some of these holiday traditions stay true to the college’s Swedish and Lutheran roots. This year was the 48th year of ‘The Joy of Christmas Past and Present,’ a worship service that takes place at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover.

There, students enjoy hearing the Christmas Story read in three languages: English, Spanish and Swedish.

This worship is also special because it concludes with those in attendance walking down the road to the historic Jenny Lind Chapel, partaking in communion and caroling by candlelight.

“‘The Joy of Christmas’ is the most charming Christmas celebration ever! Just ask someone who has gone in the past,” Pastor Richard Priggie said.

The 48th annual ‘Joy of Christmas Past and Present’ took place on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Buses left from the Swanson Commons and PepsiCo at 6:30 p.m. to take students to Andover.

Besides the traditional celebrations on campus, Augustana Holiday traditions are changing and expanding.

Sophomore Molly Bastida’s favorite event here on campus is LatinX Unidos’ ‘La Virgen de Guadalupe Tribute,’ which will be held this year on Dec. 8.

“I grew up honoring Our Lady and celebrating this day, so seeing that I can continue to celebrate at school is very meaningful to me,” Bastida said.

A more modern holiday celebration here at Augustana is the ‘Season of Light Planetarium Show.’ This event is a multimedia planetarium show that tells the story of how holiday traditions are connected to the sky.

‘Season of Light’ takes place between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14 with nightly showings at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Other celebrations linked to the college’s Swedish roots include the annual ‘Sankta Lucia Festival,’ a cherished tradition in all Nordic countries. During this free event on Dec. 11, attendees celebrate the holiday with traditional Scandinavian lessons, carols and poetry.

With all of the celebrations honoring Augustana’s Swedish and Lutheran roots, there is concern that these holiday traditions are not inclusive to all students on campus.

“I understand that Augustana has the affiliation with the Lutheran church, but knowing that there is part of our school community and greater QC community that is not Christian, I believe everyone could benefit from other ways to celebrate the holidays,” Bastida said.

“The events that are planned for the Christmas season are meant to give people of all backgrounds and faith opportunities to come together,” Johnston said.

Photo:  The Quartet singers of 3 to Blame: Jerry Higgs, from left, Michael Callahan, Dawn Higgs and Matt Sanders perform before the tree lighting.

Photo: The Quartet singers, 3 to Blame: Jerry Higgs from left, Michael Callahan, Dawn Higgs, and Matt Sanders perform before the tree lighting. Photo by Sophie Reid.

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Augustana kicks off the holiday season