Year-round programming in the multi-use Cultural Center includes musical concerts, lectures, films, language instruction, educational programs for school groups, and countless classes in Scandinavian folk art and Nordic cuisine.
Several events have become annual traditions at the Scandinavian Cultural Center–Swedish Sankta Lucia Fest, Norwegian Julegudstjeneste (Christmas Service), Nordic Christmas Fest (an elegant holiday banquet), and the Norwegian Heritage Festival, just to name a few. In addition to serving the campus community, the Center is made available to Nordic organizations for banquets, meetings, and events. Learn more about these Annual Traditions Below!
Annual Event Descriptions
Student Run Julemarked
This year’s Julemarked will be held in the Scan Center on Sunday, November 19th, 2023 between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. Come and support PLU students and find some excellent and very unique holiday gifts!
Norwegian Christmas Service (Julegudstjeneste)
An annual event on the PLU campus since 1975, this event is a blend of spiritual songs and scripture readings that tell the story of Jesus, conducted in Norwegian language. The candlelight service has become a family tradition for many in the Tacoma-Seattle area. The event is conducted in partnership with the Scandinavian Cultural Center, where it has been hosted for the last two years.
To be held on December 6th, 2023 at 7 pm, the Norwegian Christmas Service is the perfect way to celebrate the meaning of Christmas with a special candlelight service.
A reception follows with Norwegian cookies, punch, and coffee. The event is free, open to the public, and will take place in the Scandinavian Cultural Center on the first floor of the Anderson University Center. Sponsors: Scandinavian Cultural Center and Norwegian Program.
Swedish Sankta Lucia Fest
The Sankta Lucia Fest celebrated in the Swedish tradition and normally takes place in PLU’s SCC. The hour-long program features Swedish music, song, and dance, and a very special children’s performance. The celebration marks the beginning of the Christmas season at PLU and is a favorite of children and adults. We will be celebrating on December 10th, 2023, starting at 4:00pm and it will be held in the Scandinavian Cultural Center.
Nordic Christmas Fest (Julefest)
The annual Nordic Christmas Fest has been a much-anticipated event in the Scandinavian Cultural Center for over two decades. The Cultural Center is at its loveliest with candlelight and magical holiday decorations. The evening is filled with great conversation, fantastic food, and lively entertainment. Members will receive invitations to this yearly themed event.
Also known as the Jul Banquet, this year the theme will be Swedish Royalty, honoring the 500th anniversary of the Coronation of King Gustav Vasa, Sweden’s first king, as well as the 50th Jubilee of the reign of King Carl Gustav. The event will be held on December 16th, 2023 starting at 5:00 p.m. Come and join us in this lovely holiday tradition.
Norwegian Heritage Festival
When HM King Olav V of Norway visited Pacific Lutheran University in 1975, local Norwegian-Americans staged a Norwegian Heritage Festival in his honor. It was such a huge success that it became an annual tradition. Today the festival features Norwegian foods, entertainment, vendors, and crafts and demonstrations (e.g., rosemaling, Hardanger embroidery, spinning, and woodcarving).
The Norwegian Heritage Festival celebrates Norwegian culture through artisans, vendors, performers, and authentic food. It usually takes place on the last Saturday in April, April 27th, 2022 and runs from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Free admission and free parking.
Relax with friends and family in the Norwegian Café where you will enjoy on-stage performances by Norwegian musical, vocal, and dance groups, while tantalizing your taste buds with authentic Norwegian food such as ertesuppe (pea soup), pølse med lompe (Norwegian hot dogs), rømmegrøt (cream pudding), smørrbrød (open-faced sandwiches) and tasty baked goods. Have fun shopping for authentic Norwegian products in the vendor booths that line the hallways just outside the café.
The Norwegian Heritage Festival is a combined effort of Daughters of Norway Embla Lodge #2, Sons of Norway Norden Lodge #2, and the Scandinavian Cultural Center.
Norwegian Constitution Day (17th of May)
On May 17, 1814, Norwegian delegates signed a constitution that made Norway a country distinct from Denmark and Sweden. This day is celebrated in Norway annually with parades and speeches, and by many Norwegian-Americans. Pacific Lutheran University has its tradition of gathering students, faculty, and friends in Centennial Plaza, where a Norwegian flag proudly waives daily in honor of our Norwegian heritage. On the 17th of May, students raise the Norwegian and U.S. flags in a morning celebration, while singing Ja, vi elsker dette landet and the Star Spangled Banner.