Christmas Celebration in Vietnam
Christmas Celebration in Vietnam is done on Christmas Eve. And surprisingly Christmas is not a holiday there. Chuc Mung Giang Sinh is the traditional way of greeting Christmas in Vietnam. Though it is one of the most popular events in the country today, history was not always smooth. There was a time when Christians were forced to celebrate the festival in secret.
The country has embraced a more secular approach then. The regulation allows people to give equal importance to all religions. Over 70% of the population does not believe in any specific religion. However, recent statistics state that more people are inclined towards a particular faith. This does not tamper with the interest of the festival among the general population. The believers in Christianity are over 10%, and it is steadily rising.
Christmas is one of the four principal festivals celebrated in Vietnam. This is primarily due to the secularism approach followed by them. The citizens join together as a community and commemorate the festival of joy. Christmas Eve is considered as an essential occasion for socialising and bonding among the younger generation.
The festival is deeply embedded in the history and culture of the place. It stands as the testimony of the remarkable events of the past and also as a proof for the development of the country. This does not just depict the celebrations but also the outlook of the citizens.
Here are some interesting facts about Christmas Celebration in Vietnam:
Origin of Christianity in Vietnam
The origin of Christianity can be traced back to the 16th century when missionaries spread the word across the globe. The religion was strengthened during the French colonisation. The percentage of Christians grew in numbers, and today they form over 10% of the significant population.
The Church is primarily divided into two major categories – Roman Catholic and Protestants. The bible translation into Vietnamese began in 1890. The government was initially resistant to religion and later accepted them due to the changes in policy.
History of Christmas in Vietnam
The Christians in Vietnam are a minority in the country compared to the other ethnic groups. The relationship between the government and the Church was not always smooth. There was a period when the state was not very supportive of religion. The believers were forced to practice their faith in secret. Even the festival was celebrated without much grandiose. However, the situation has changed since and the government is now more open to the religious beliefs of the citizens.
Traditional Christmas Event
Like most Christmas events across the globe, the festival is marked by a midnight mass. Both the Christians and the general populations who like to take part in the Christmas Celebration attend this event. The people enjoy Vietnamese food for Christmas Catering after the ceremony in their homes. The Vietnamese Restaurants and cafes also prepare a special menu to celebrate the occasions. Christmas Celebration is more popular on Christmas Eve than the actual festival.
Major Churches in Vietnam
The major churches in Vietnam are the Phu Nhai Church, Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Phat Diem Cathedral. All churches are decorated with a crib and tree to monumentalise the Christmas Celebration.
Christmas Practices in Vietnam
Christmas is not a formal holiday in Vietnam because most people are not a part of any religions. However, the citizens gather in a particular location for Christmas Celebration by throwing confetti and having fun. They visit the Church to enjoy the decoration and other festivities. The government implements traffic regulations to help people enjoy the day with ease. Another exciting practice is that children leave their shoes out to receive presents from Santa Claus. The Vietnamese street food Melbourne and Vietnamese restaurants serve the festive food.
The Vietnamese Christmas Celebration feast is similar to the French style. Most of the practices were passed from the French to the Christians in the area. The meal consists of traditional dishes along with a touch of modernism. There are individual dishes like egg rolls, hot pot, pudding, a cake which forms a mandatory part of the menu. In addition to them, the culinary experts also include the rice and noodles dishes along with it. The Buche de Noel is a type of Christmas cake that occupies a place in the feast. The best Vietnamese food in Melbourne reflects this festive season.
Vietnamese are warm and caring people by nature. This means that they are extra caring during the festival season. Though there is no standard practice of gift exchange during the Christmas Celebration, people still enjoy giving presents to their loved ones. This is an exotic country, and there are various options for gifts. The citizens and the tourists can either select a traditional item like the Non-La, Ao Dai, Silk, Lacquer Ware, Coffee, Wine, etc. You can also treat your loved ones for a traditional Christmas meal in a leading Vietnamese Restaurant Melbourne.
Ong Gia Noel- Thw Vietnamese Santa
Christmas is not comprehensive without a visit from Santa Claus or Ong Gia Noel if you are in Vietnam. This cute older man in a red suit and white beard is a symbol of the Christmas Celebration. His sack contains the gifts and dreams of children. There are various myths and exciting stories regarding Santa and his present delivery system. Like the French, the Vietnamese believe that Le Pere Noel or Ong Gia Noel delivers the gifts on Christmas Eve. Vietnamese Restaurants across the globe hire him to give small surprises to their guests.
Christmas Celebration in Vietnam is not just about preparing a tasty feast or going to a popular Vietnamese restaurant. It is about accepting the belief and traditions of other religions. It is about respecting the values of other people and celebrating the differences. It is about growing as a person and contributing to the growth of the community. Most countries consider Christmas as a religious festival that is strictly limited to Christians. The festival is indeed celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
However, all religious festivals have a more profound significance than their origins. Though they might have originated from a single religion, it is not restricted to them. This is a beautiful occasion to share the goodness of the belief system with the world. These fiestas play a vital role in accepting the positivity in others and sharing their happiness. Now it is time to spread the joy and treat your loved ones with a traditional Christmas feast.