Around the world, holidays are celebrated many different ways by many different cultures. Each holiday has special ethical ties to the culture from where it celebrated. Two cultures, in particular, the U.S.A and Viet Nam celebrate Christmas. Some American and Vietnamese students in Lincoln Lutheran high school interviewed about Christmas in their country. Khai Dinh, a junior student, was born in Viet Nam and lived there for fifteen years, before coming to the U.S to study aboard. He said: “Christmas in Vietnam has many differences compared to U.S, so this is the first time I got to see the way people celebrate Christmas in the U.S and the atmosphere of these days before that holiday.” Merry Christmas in Vietnamese is “Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh”!.
In Vietnam, Christmas Eve is often more important than Christmas day. Christmas isn’t an official public holiday and many people think it’s only a holiday for Christians.
Many of the holidays in Viet Nam are much different from those in the U.S.A. The few holidays that are very similar to the holidays in the U.S.A celebrated at various times of the year. Also, there are a few holidays Viet Nam celebrates that the U.S.A doesn’t.
Specifically, the holiday season has some differences. The people in Viet Nam do celebrate Christmas. However, they celebrate it much differently than we do in the U.S.A. In Viet Nam Christianity is not a dominant religion, so those who do celebrate it either just like having holidays, or it does have a religious significance to them. However, in the U.S, Christmas is different from Christmas in Vietnam because to them it is the most important holiday of the year. Christmas is by far one of the biggest holidays celebrated, in part because Christianity is a dominant religion here. In Viet Nam Christmas isn’t a big holiday, at best it’s just a small celebration, and there are not many Christmas decorations a month before it even comes. Triet Ngo, senior student, he said: “The particular thing about Vietnam is the young people are not at home the night before Christmas. Vehicle traffic is bad, so we poured into the streets to hang out with our friends. The way of celebrating is unlike in America, where they are at home for Christmas dinner and sharing their love to their family.”
In some areas of Ho Chi Minh city, usually in Catholic parishes, people have big nativity scenes in front of their houses and decorate the whole street, turning it into a Christmas area! These are popular for people to visit and look at the scenes.
All children in the world believe in the existence of Santa Claus and Vietnam; they put their shoes in front of their doors on Christmas Eve. On the morning of the 25th of December, they wake up to find their boots filled with treats and presents laid under the Christmas tree. Mia Luong, a sophomore student, shared a humorous story about her belief in Santa. She remarked: “When I was a little girl, my mom told me Santa would come and give presents and I believed that. However, when I was twelve years old, I read a story that said Santa only lived in a cold place. It made me think the Santa didn’t exist in Vietnam because my country is hot country.” Moreover, Mrs. Rickords, one of Lincoln Lutheran’s teachers, also shared her thoughts about Santa: “I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but my parents were at Bible Study, and one of the other kids there told me Santa wasn’t real. She was younger than me, and her parents told her there was no such thing as Santa from the beginning. I argued with her, and my mom told me the truth on the way home.” Regardless, Santa brings happiness for the children around the world, so the fact of his existence is not necessary because this is one of the most important imaginary figures on this earth. Santa has touched the hearts and souls of many children in their childhood.
Christmas all over the world is a unique and magical holiday loved by many people young and old. There is so much to learn about how Christmas celebrated around the world. I hope that you learned a little and that now you have an idea about how Christmas celebrated in Vietnam. But most of all, have some holiday fun!