Christmas in Vietnam: bookending a long festival season

Here’s my latest essay for VNExpress International.

Even though the percentage of Vietnamese who celebrate December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ is in the single digits, Christmas has evolved into a full-fledged secular holiday in recent years.

A sure sign Christmas is approaching is when elaborate and colorful holiday displays at banks and other businesses, with faux Christmas trees, Santa’s sleigh, and reindeer, begin popping up and lighting up all over the city. While Santa Claus has yet to visit every home, children are enchanted by the omnipresent decorations with parents hovering nearby, smartphones in hand, to record digital memories.

Some of the sights and sounds of the season, Vietnamese-style, include rail thin “Santas” whizzing by on motorbikes, young ladies in reindeer attire, toddlers dressed up in adorable Santa suits, and children singing Christmas carols.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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