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 usually 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 usually 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.
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
- Christmas is not an official public holiday in Vietnam, as it is seen as a celebration of Western culture.
- However, Christmas has become increasingly popular in Vietnam’s major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
- Vietnamese Christians, especially Catholics, attend special church services and celebrations during the Christmas season.
- Christmas decorations like trees, lights, Santa Claus displays can be seen in many big hotels, restaurants, and stores.
- Some Vietnamese families, especially those with overseas connections or loved ones, now celebrate Christmas with gifts and festive meals at home.
- 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.
- In larger cities, young people like to go out to cafes, bars, concerts, and shows that offer special discounts and entertainment.
- Charity groups and volunteers organize visits to orphanages, hospitals, poor rural areas to donate food, gifts, school supplies to those in need.
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.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.