In countries with the majority of the population is Christian, especially the West, Christmas is an important event. And thanks to the globalization, Christmas is becoming more and more popular in Eastern countries like Vietnam. If you happened to be in Vietnam at the end of a year, here is how you can join the local to celebrate Christmas in Vietnam.
How Christmas in Vietnam is Celebrated
Christmas in Vietnam is mainly celebrated in the nights of December 24th and the 25th. Even though the holiday still has the cheerful and family vibe, the main purpose and meaning of Christmas are not really popular to all Vietnamese. Not all of the traditions are strictly followed. To the ones that are not Christian, it is more of an occasion for relaxing and hanging out with friends and family. To the ones that are Christian (12% of the population), it is considered to be one of the most important events of the year, just like Western countries.
Giving Presents and Santa Claus
To all the children, it is time they expect presents from their parents, no matter they are Christians or not. Most of the kids know that the gifts are from their parents, even though the tale of Santa is widely known. Santa Claus is still the image of a kind old man who gives gifts to children (or people), so there are many people dress up as Santa to give presents to street children and children at orphanages on this special holiday.
Christmas Tree Decoration
In tropical countries such as Vietnam, pines are not popular. You can only find it in some mountainous place with cool weather like Da Lat. Hence, Vietnamese, especially the Christians and corporates, often do the Christmas decoration with artificial pines made of plastic.
Christmas in Vietnam with Christmas tree decoration
There is a wide range of selection from green pine to pine which is covered with snow and pine with pine cones. Similar to Western people, Vietnamese will hang on the Christmas tree different kinds of decorative such as a couple of bells, socks, Santa Clause, candy, Christmas tree lights, garland, and ornaments. You can buy the trees and decorations in shops on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, near Dai Quang Minh Market, District 5 or in Ky Dong Church, District 3.
Vietnamese, especially the young ones and international corporates, often write cards or send a holiday wishing for each other. Christmas is a holiday of reunion associated with the warm and cozy atmosphere. Therefore, it is a perfect time to write something sweet for your loved ones which could be the amazing message for the end of the year for all of you. This practice is spreading fast and strong, making the Christmas card industry considerably develops and introduces quality and beautiful cards.
Christmas in Vietnam is often noticed when the attractive decorations of shopping malls and big streets are displayed. These are often the places where people will come and enjoy the atmosphere, as well as take photos to save the memories of one of the most beautiful times of the year. There are also streets and districts that the majority of inhabitants there are Christians (“xóm đạo”). This makes the neighborhood is very well-decorated with caves and sometimes artificial snow too.
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Where to Spend Your Christmas in Vietnam
There are places that will let you fully experience Christmas in Vietnam.
If you are in Ho Chi Minh City
The first one to mention is the Notre Dame Cathedral and its neighborhood – Central Post Office, Diamond Plaza mall, and some main streets of the city such as Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Le Duan, and Dong Khoi. This city’s center attracts thousands of people come to the church in the special holiday or just go there to take photos and enjoy the atmosphere with family and friends.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Christmas
The second is District 7 with Crescent Mall and its neighborhood which is a very nice place with Ban Nguyet Lake and Anh Sao Bridge. This is also a place that is very well-decorated in any event or holiday and Christmas is not an exception.
You can also feel the Christmas vibe in “Xóm đạo Phạm Thế Hiển” (the Christain community) in District 8, or Ho Chi Minh City churches like Cho Quan in Chinatown District 5 and the pink Tan Dinh Church in District 1.
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If you are in Hanoi
The Big Church in Hanoi (St. Joseph Cathedral) is the place to come in Christmas. There are various activities happened there for both Christian and non-Christian to join. It will definitely leave a very deep impression in you.
The Hanoi Big Church in Christmas
If you are in other places of Vietnam on Christmas,
You should find a local church and enjoy the holy night in peace and silence, or go to the central areas of the city to dine and join the locals celebrating Christmas on the streets.
And a meaningful thing you can do on Christmas in Vietnam, no matter where you are in the country, is doing volunteer.You should contact the local churches or orphanages in advance and offer your help.