The truth about Christmas Vietnam

Nga Do
Like some western countries, Christmas is one of the most important festivals in Vietnam. Vietnamese people are always looking forward to a happy and warm Christmas.

Christmas in Vietnam is a grand event and Christmas Eve, which is regarded as more important than Christmas Day in Vietnam, is a big party when Vietnamese people, whether being a Christian or not from almost all religious communities celebrate with gusto.

Vietnamese people celebrate Christmas during December with a big nativity crib scene or 'creche' with life-sized statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds and animals from almost every major churches such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City or Saint Joseph Cathedral (the Big Church) in Hanoi. It also has sparkling lighting decorations on trees on the streets and in front of houses, turning particular places into Christmas area.

In Christmas season, the shops will usually have their signs advertising sales, and in Hanoi the piercing cold is a good chance for people to get dressed up.

Unlike Christmas in the United States in which most of the celebration celebrates in the home with home cooked meals and family gathering, the Vietnamese hold the event outside. Vietnamese people tend to celebrate Christmas by going out to eat in restaurants and having fun around the city with their family. In two big cities including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, people tend to gather at the city center in which the cathedral stands and cars are not allowed.

The Christians in Vietnam usually attend a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and then return home to a spectacular Christmas dinner with chicken soup, the well-heeled tuck replacing the turkey and Christmas pudding. The family would gather together, pray for blessings and practice the Yuletide spirit of giving and sharing.

Children in Vietnam are greatly excited because they believe in the existence of Santa Claus and put their shoes in front of their doors on Christmas Eve. On the morning of 25th December, they wake up to find their boots filled with treats and presents laid under the Christmas tree.  

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