Christmas in Vietnam – Mostly Roman Catholic

The Vietnamese regard Christmas Eve as more significant than the actual day of Christmas. Many people take Christmas as only a holiday for the Christians, and hence it is not a formal public holiday.

In the biggest city of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, previously known as Saigon) individuals, especially the young-ins, go to the center of the city to celebrate Christmas in the Catholic Cathedral.

Christmas Eve is considered as really important; hence, the streets are full of people merrymaking.

This is to the extent that cars are not allowed to the city center during the night of Christmas Eve.

The city center is crowded with people taking photos, dispersing confetti and enjoying the view of the beautification and the glittering lights of the retail stores and the hotels.

There are also a lot of restaurants and cafes which are open to the public for them to delight in meals and snacks.

Midnight Mass in Vietnam

Midnight mass on Christmas Eve marks a culmination of the advent season for Vietnamese Catholics nationwide. As clocks chime twelve, families and parishioners by the hundreds, dressed in their festive best, flock to colorful, candle-lit cathedrals and parish churches to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Majestic choirs fill the spaces with beloved Vietnamese Christmas hymns and adapted classics like “Silent Night” in Vietnamese. Priests lead elaborate reenactments with children playfully dressed as angels hovering over mangers, guiding shepherds and magi to the newborn king.

The mass itself reflects both solemn ritual and joyous celebration, the air rich with incense as familiar scriptures tell the nativity story. After reflecting on Christ’s birth and taking communion, there is an abundance of community and festivity.

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On the church steps and courtyard, children compare angel wings while adults exchange heartfelt Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh greetings and holiday wishes.

Midnight marks when Christmas has truly arrived for Vietnamese Catholics. They return home to sumptuous late night feasts featuring special holiday dishes like sticky rice or chicken noodles. Across the country’s cities, televised footage provides magnificent views from the largest cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City to intimate community gatherings. In its rich sensory experience and sacred ritual, Vietnamese midnight mass welcomes the promise of Christmas.

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Main Points About Christmas in Vietnam

  1. Christmas is not an official public holiday in Vietnam, as it is seen as a celebration of Western culture.
  2. However, Christmas has become increasingly popular in Vietnam’s major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
  3. Vietnamese Christians, especially Catholics, attend special church services and celebrations during the Christmas season.
  4. Christmas decorations like trees, lights, Santa Claus displays can be seen in many big hotels, restaurants, and stores.
  5. Some Vietnamese families, especially those with overseas connections or loved ones, now celebrate Christmas with gifts and festive meals at home.
  6. Unique Vietnamese Christmas food traditions include making banh chung (sticky rice with pork and beans) or mixing fried chicken with rice noodles, salad, and broth.
  7. In larger cities, young people like to go out to cafes, bars, concerts, and shows that offer special discounts and entertainment.
  8. Charity groups and volunteers organize visits to orphanages, hospitals, poor rural areas to donate food, gifts, school supplies to those in need.
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Word Cloud for Christmas in Vietnam

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Vietnam. This should help you recall related terms as used in this article at a later stage.

Christmas in Vietnam

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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26 thoughts on “Christmas in Vietnam – Mostly Roman Catholic”

  1. Christmas in Vietnam seems to be a rich fusion of tradition, spirituality, and community engagement.

  2. The festive atmosphere and the blending of centuries-old traditions with modern influences in Vietnam’s Christmas celebrations are truly captivating.

    • Indeed, the juxtaposition of tradition and modernity adds a remarkable dynamism to the holiday festivities in Vietnam.

  3. The Vietnamese approach to Christmas offers valuable insights into the cultural significance of the holiday across various societies.

    • Absolutely, it’s a testament to the universal themes of joy, togetherness, and spirituality that resonate across diverse cultural landscapes.

  4. I appreciate the detailed insights into the holiday traditions and cultural aspects of Christmas in Vietnam.

  5. It’s disappointing that Christmas is not considered a formal public holiday in Vietnam, given the significance of the celebrations.

    • I understand your perspective, it’s an interesting contrast to many other countries where Christmas is a major public holiday.

  6. The arrangements for festive meals and the excitement among young people reflect the joy of Christmas celebrations in Vietnam.

  7. I’m surprised by the increasing popularity and influence of Christmas in Vietnamese cities. It’s fascinating to observe cultural shifts.

    • I agree, it’s always fascinating to see how different traditions around the world celebrate the same holiday in unique ways.

  8. I find it heartwarming that charity groups and volunteers engage in meaningful activities during Christmas in Vietnam.

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