Christmas or Noel is the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, so in Western countries it’s a big holiday, everyone spends time decorating their homes and preparing for a Christmas day is peaceful and warmest. For Catholics, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year, they consider it as a family day, creating memories and maintaining affection for everyone in a family. Noel is also a day that everyone can share and help the elderly, the sick, the helpless, the homeless. They do a good job and are willing to give love without getting it back.
In Vietnam, there are nearly 7 million Catholics, accounting for about 7.7% of the population of the country. However, on Christmas day, many young people respond, creating a bustling atmosphere such as national cultural holidays, the atmosphere to celebrate Christmas is also manifested in places such as companies, restaurants, bars, parks, streets and so on. Everywhere we can see the atmosphere of Christmas. Although among them are believers of Buddhism, Cao Dai, Islam and also those who are not religious.
Christmas holiday are usually celebrated on the evening of December 24 and last until December 25. Everyone will give each other special gifts, especially young couples. They often give presents and sweet wishes to each other. Besides, on this day, the children are also given gifts by the Santa Claus.
In recent years, Christmas Day has become more popular in Vietnam. Although not on holidays, Christmas is a happy occasion for everyone. People also create beautiful spaces for Christmas such as decorating Christmas trees, giving gifts to children. Vietnamese children also form a culture of writing letters to Santa Claus to express their dreams and desires. On Christmas day, everyone will attend a meal with family and friends. They often stay up all night playing and singing together, telling each other stories, gathering by the fireplace and the Christmas tree.
Since early December, many shopping centers and streets have been colorful in Noel’s atmosphere. The colors commonly used on Christmas day are red, green and white. Shops and malls are sparkling decorated with Santa Claus and pine trees everywhere. This place often attracts a lot of people to visit, take photos to save memories. Although Vietnamese people do not consider this day as a major holiday and not everyone celebrates it, they still have many activities to welcome it.
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At this time, the churches are not only places for Christians to focus on the ceremony but also become attractive destinations for young people and tourists to check-in. Besides, many cultural and artistic programs with Christmas colors are also held in many places, bringing a joyful and warm atmosphere for everyone to enjoy together.
Throughout the length of defending and building the country, the Vietnamese culture is always moving and adapting to cultures, but it is the “integration” without “dissolving”. The reception of new religious activities shows that the harmonization of religions and cultural activities of Vietnamese people takes place naturally and reasonably.
Those who celebrate Christmas in Vietnam are divided into two groups. The first is the Christian group. These people celebrate Christmas similar to Westerners. The Christmas celebration was prepared in advance for many weeks. They buy Christmas trees and decorate the house. On December 24, they went to church to attend Christmas. Then return home, spend the evening with family. Everyone will cook together and exchange gifts. The second group is people outside of Christ. This group consists mainly of young people and children. On Christmas day, they will not stay at home with their family. They are in cafes and in places decorated for Christmas. Christmas has no meaning to these people. They just want to have fun with friends.
In Vietnam, on this occasion, Christmas songs resound in the streets. Big hotels, shopping centers, walking streets or places where many foreigners visit, the preparation for Christmas is very bustling. In these days, the Christmas tree is decorated in many places, be it artificial trees made of plastic, or real trees usually with three-leaf pine or horsetail pine. In the trees, people often hang many kinds of decorations but often have pairs of bells, snow cords, boots, gifts and lights like Western countries.
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