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.
In Ho Chi Minh city (which is the largest city in Vietnam and used to be called Saigon) people (especially young people) like to go into the city center, where there is a Catholic Cathedral. The streets are crowded with people on Christmas Eve and in the city center cars are not allowed for the night.
People celebrate by throwing confetti, taking pictures and enjoying the Christmas decorations and lights of big hotels and department stores. Lots of cafes and restaurants are open for people to enjoy a snack!
Not many people in Vietnam are Christians, but some people like to go to Midnight Mass services to watch the Nativity plays and hear Christmas music.
Vietnam used to be part of the French Empire and there are still French influences in the Christmas traditions.
All churches, and some Christian homes, will have a nativity crib scene or ‘creche’. Many Catholic churches have a big scene with nearly life size statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds and animals.
HOW VIETNAMESE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS 2020
Although a predominantly Buddhist country, Christmas in Vietnam is still one of the four main annual religious festivals including the Lunar New Year, the mid-autumn festival, Buddha’s birthday. Christmas in Vietnam is a huge event and Christmas Eve, which is regarded as more important than Christmas Day in Vietnam, is a grand party when the fun-loving and sociable Vietnamese, whether being a Christian or not, celebrate with gusto.
Decorations are set up 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. There are also sparkling lighting decorations on trees on the streets and in front of houses, turning particular places into Christmas area. Usually the shops will have their signs advertising sales for Christmas seasons, and in Hanoi the piercing cold is a wonderful chance for people to get dressed up.
On Christmas Eve, the Christians in Vietnam usually attend a Midnight Mass as in the western world, 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.
In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, people tend to gather at the city center where the cathedral stands and cars are not allowed. Children in Vietnam are greatly excited because they believe in Santa Clause and put their shoes in front of their doors on Christmas Eve, expecting to have their shoes stuffed in with goodies from Santa’s bulging sack on the morning of 25th December.
Does Vietnam Celebrate Christmas?
To begin with, Christmas is not a public holiday in Vietnam. People go to work as normal and all businesses have normal opening hours. Next, the long-established Vietnamese religions are Buddhism and the Chinese philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism. Therefore, in the past, Christmas was only celebrated by the Christian community.
In recent days, Christmas is getting more and more popular and is considered one of the four most important festivals in Vietnam including the Birthday of Buddhism, Mid-term Autumn Festival, and Lunar New Year.
Vietnamese Christmas celebration starts in the evening of 24th December and often last to the next day. In Vietnam, the Christmas Eva is much more important than Christmas Day.
How is Christmas in Vietnam celebrated?
Nowadays, Christmas in Vietnam is greeted with enthusiasm and joy by the locals, especially those ones in the big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang. They happily join the celebrations and decorate the cities.
A few weeks before the Christmas Day, many offices and shops put up elaborate ornaments with a quite Western look full of lights, bright garlands adorning Christmas trees and Santas. Many shops, as well as restaurants, offer a special promotion for this grand party.
Young people like to concentrate on the center of the city where there is the Cathedral such as the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi and Notre-Dame Cathedral in District 1, Saigon. On this eve, the celebrities and Vietnamese famous people also often show up here for the Christmas Events including the Music Concert.
Speaking of the Christian people in Vietnam, Christmas Eva is an occasion for the family gathering, a gala time and a gala time. Like people in the western countries, after attending the Midnight Mass, Vietnamese Christian return home and enjoy the Christmas food following the recipes which are changed somehow to adapt the local tastes. For example, the chicken soup and sweet fruitcakes are often replaced for the turkey and Christmas pudding.
What happens on Christmas Eve
Vietnam used to be the colony of France, so the Vietnamese Christmas celebration is under the influence of the French tradition. On Christmas Eva, churches, and some Christian homes will have a nativity crib scene or ‘creche’. People listen to the Christmas song, throw confetti, take pictures, enjoy the magic of Christmas night, give the beautiful wishes and Christmas presents to other people. Children are eager to receive the gift from Santa Claus.
So, if you come to spend Christmas in Vietnam, but still hesitate on where to go for Christmas Eve, here are some ideas on what every major city in Vietnam offers as a celebration.
1. Christmas in Hanoi, Vietnam
In Hanoi, the weather on Christmas is colder. The temperature tends to decrease when the night falls. So make sure you don’t forget to bring a warm coat. On Christmas Eve, young people like to put on the jackets, Christmas reindeer printed sweaters, and the scarf of the red and green color, which make the street colorful and striking.
a. Where to go in Hanoi on Christmas Eve?
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
The famous St. Joseph’s Cathedral of Hanoi (which looks a little like that of Notre Dame de Paris) attracts many people as well as the surrounding of Hoan Kiem Lake, a very central place for gatherings among locals and foreigners.
Hang Ma Street
Hang Ma, a street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, sells all kinds of ever-changing holiday decorations and adapts quickly to the Christmas spirit as soon as the winter season starts. It means that you can buy any Christmas ornament you want here as well as your favorite Christmas cards and pictures.
b. Things to do in Hanoi on Christmas Holiday?
Dinner at a prestigious hotel
In general, during the Christmas period, hotels offer luxury buffet dinners as well as performances or performances accompanying the meal. These hotels include Sofitel Métropole in Hanoi or the Hilton Hanoi Opera hotel, Melia Hanoi or the Hotel des Arts of Ho Chi Minh City. Ask our agents for advice on choosing the one that suits you best for the Christmas meal in Vietnam.
Attend a music show at Hanoi Opera House
On Christmas Eve and on the 25th there are several musical performances held in Hanoi, especially in the area of the French Quarter near the Opera but a show at the Opera itself is a must.
Get inspired with a little taste of Vietnamese culture in Hanoi
Hanoi is the unique Asian city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and traditional pagodas and temples that date back hundreds of years. Imprinted in minds of most traveler’s visiting Hanoi is the beauty of French Old Quarter with 36 special streets, the cultural highlights of Ngoc Son Temple and the Temple of Literature, etc. If it happens to you to visit Hanoi on Xmas Holiday, don’t hesitate to spend one day to discover the charm of the entire city.
2. Christmas in Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Church spirit on Christmas Eve
Being the most major city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is very active during Christmas. People often want to celebrate Xmas in Catholic cathedrals. They close the streets nearby to cars at these times to make it easier for big crowds. Meanwhile, in Hanoi, people are eager to celebrate Christmas in the cold weather of the winter. In Ho Chi Minh, the weather will be just like summer! The weather and the energy from the crowded make the city center hotter.
As far as Ho Chi Minh City is concerned, the decorations are numerous. And you will find decorated and lighted trees, as well as Santa’s everywhere. There, the cathedral of Notre Dame is very popular on Christmas Eve.
Where to go & Things to do on Christmas Eve in Saigon
In recent years, people tend to concentrate on commercial buildings to go shopping, have dinner, and take pictures. Bitexco Financial Tower used to be the most favorite building on Christmas Eve. But since 2018, due to the opening of Landmark 81 – the highest building of Vietnam, a huge number of people choose to celebrate the party in this new landmark. Some popular places for going shopping on Christmas Eve includes Aeon Mall Binh Tan, Diamond Plaza (District 1), Saigon Centre, Takashimaya
Experience the traditional Western Christmas Style in the Special Winter Festivals
Dam Sen Water Park, The Snowing village (Crescent Mall), The Snow Town ( District 2)
Christmas is an occasion for the family gathering. All members stay together, pray for a lucky new year, and then enjoying dinner with the delicious local cuisines. Then, relax on the upper deck, have a nice talk, and admire the colorful, stunning cities of lights. All of these experiences will bring you an unforgettable Christmas Eve on the waterways.
3. A magical Christmas in Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An is a fishing village. Once an important port in Southeast Asia, which still retains a lot of charm and influences in its architecture as much Japanese or Chinese as French. Its picturesque location on the banks of the Thu Bon River gives it the air of Venice. Thanks to its ideal location and peaceful atmosphere, Hoi An has become the favorite breakpoint of the excursion to discover the highlights of Vietnam.
You will be able to enjoy the gastronomy of the central cuisine, take the bicycle everywhere, have clothes tailor-made to you in one of the many tailors of the city (or shoes and bags) and try activities such as fishing or farming. Moreover, it is an excellent city to come practice yoga and enjoy spa treatments. And to wrap it up, there is the beach! Just a short boat ride to the coast, you find Cham Islands or Cau Dai Beach.
Try to be there around the Lantern Festival and you will be treated to a romantic and warm atmosphere when the city is plunged into darkness and you only see the lights of the glittering lanterns floating along the river.
4. Christmas inDalat, Vietnam “little Paris”
Dalat or “little Paris” was nicknamed by the Vietnamese. During Christmas, it becomes the city of flowers in December. This year, You can attend the Festival of Flowers from 23 to 27.
Alternatively, you can admire the beautiful landscape while devoting time to your favorite hobby with the 3-day golf tour in Dalat. Vietnam was one of the first countries in Asia to create high-quality golf courses, including the last Emperors’ private 9 hole course in Dalat in the 1920s. After a round of golf here, you will want to explore even more of the country’s top flight courses.
5. Christmas inSapa, Vietnam
If you want to spend a more typical Christmas, embrace the cold and maybe the snow of Sapa in December. Hotels looking like chalets and the mountains is a bit like going to winter sports. Northern Vietnam landscapes will dazzle your eyes.
6. Christmas in Lang Son Province and Far North Vietnam
If you want to escape from the crowded, the bustle and hustle of the big cities during your Christmas Holiday, far North Vietnam is a great choice for you. Located at 1,500 meters above sea level, Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son boasts the stunning natural scenery and fresh atmosphere. At the time of Xmas, the weather here is pretty cold. But with the heavy jacket, some hot green tea or some small cup of Mau Son Wine – the specialty of this mountain, together with hot, tasty local cuisine, you will be warmed up soon. The day escape trip to Mau Son, 200 km from Hanoi, will surely bring you a chance of refreshing yourself, find the inner peace, and release all worries of the normal lives.
7. Christmas In Pu Luong
To many people, Christmas is not only a holiday but also a time to discover and challenge themselves before the new year. If you like some adventurous for Xmas, trekking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve and Pom Coong Villages are the right things for you. Let’s begin with a soft trek this beautiful valley, going from one village to another and have a chance to get in touch with local villagers to know more about their daily business tilling the fields, logging or herding the buffalo. Then, descend into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat. weave between roads and farmland, villages and wild fields, ponds and rivers, mountains and open land. Savor the ever-changing scenery as you trek to a beautiful spot to enjoy a simple picnic lunch.
8. Christmas in the sumptuous Halong Bay
Give yourself the best Christmas gift and come to celebrate on a family junk. You can get truly royal cruises in Halong Bay. Imagine having your family on board for a unique moment. You will experience the comfort of a 5-star boat while everything is taken care of in the tiniest details. And, added to that are entertaining activities, unlimited message and even jacuzzi in your own bathroom. The weather at this time is generally pleasant. Swimming can be a little cooler, but you can try kayaking and visiting the precious surrounding caves.
Enjoying the panoramic view of the mystical landscape from the chartered helicopter and relax on the Paradise Luxury Cruise may give your family an exceptional Christmas in one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
9. Christmas in Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is widely known for the beautiful white-sand beach, clear water, and a wide range of high-end, luxury hotels and restaurant. On Christmas Eve, this coastal city looks more gorgeous and splendid than ever thanks to the colorful lights, candles and twinkle Christmas ornament. Like many other major cities, the locals like to visit the big commercial centers for shopping, taking pictures, and having dinner.
Some people choose to celebrate Christmas with a Barbeque party on the beach to enjoy the fresh, cool winds blowing from the sea. If you want a really sweet, romantic, and luxury Christmas Eve with your lover, spend a night with him/her on Emperor Cruises Nha Trang – the five-star all-inclusive cruise where the luxury meets the arts. Boasting a special collection of artworks of the Painter Pham Luc – the Picasso of Vietnam, Emperor Cruises Nha Trang will help you to discover the true beauty of Vietnam – the country and the people in the luxurious and unique way.
10. Christmas in Mekong Delta
To be honest, there is nothing special in Mekong Delta during the Christmas time. The Santa Clause seems to entirely forget this land. Travel to Mekong Delta this time, you will see that everything goes on as usual: the bustling floating markets full of small boats barging and jostling for space to sell the goods, the green vegetation of the canals to the orchard with many delicious, fresh fruits, the peaceful night on river combing with the rhythms of water…
If those things are not enough for you, let’s include Mekong Delta to your amazing trip exploring the treasure of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Tips for Christmas Celebration in Vietnam
How to say some Christmas words in Vietnamese?
|In English||In Vietnamese||Pronunciation|
|Merry Christmas||Giáng sinh vui vẻ|
|Christmas Eve||Đêm Nô En|
Find that the choice is difficult, right? Just think of how special it will be to spend Christmas in Vietnam! Any chosen destination is already a whole new exciting experience. Some luxuries lie simply in doing something different from the usual.
With more than 15 years of experience in luxury travel, Luxury Travel transports you to the colors and flavors of Vietnam. Offering off-the-beaten-path itineraries and luxury vacations discovering Authentic Vietnam, our local experts will advise you throughout your preparation and stay. We will be happy to help you here.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2020 & Happy New Year 2021 !!!
- 1 HOW VIETNAMESE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS 2020
- 2 Does Vietnam Celebrate Christmas?
- 3 How is Christmas in Vietnam celebrated?
- 4 What happens on Christmas Eve
- 5 1. Christmas in Hanoi, Vietnam
- 6 2. Christmas in Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- 7 3. A magical Christmas in Hoi An, Vietnam
- 8 4. Christmas inDalat, Vietnam “little Paris”
- 9 5. Christmas inSapa, Vietnam
- 10 6. Christmas in Lang Son Province and Far North Vietnam
- 11 7. Christmas In Pu Luong
- 12 8. Christmas in the sumptuous Halong Bay
- 13 9. Christmas in Nha Trang, Vietnam
- 14 Tips for Christmas Celebration in Vietnam