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Discussion Starter #1
I've never been abroad so I don't know about your activities in Christmas, I can't compare with those in Vietnam either. I only describe something for you.

In my hometown, Hanoi, not only cathedrals and Catholics prepare for Christmas but also non-Catholics do, they consider Christmas as an opportunity to decorate their homes and share love with each other. Especially, teenagers or young people (hehe, such as myself, I'm 21 :p ) long for this event to gather, exchange gifts, eat something and stroll the streets.



Shops along many of Hanoi’s ancient business streets (e.g. in Hoan Kiem district) are full of decorations for the season like the Christmas trees or Santa Claus effigy above. To attract more buyers during the Christmas season, many supermarkets and shops launch sales programs with 5-10% discounts and offer free wrapping and delivery. Some years recent, Christmas gifts are usually delivered by persons who dress up as Santa Claus, the children like this kind very much. :)



Christmas is not a traditional event of Vietnam, but with the positive change of economy and society, people accept and enjoy it. Besides Christmas, you also see Valentine's Day as an example. I'll tell you about Valentine's Day in Vietnam in February. :wink:
 

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To tell you the truth it's almost like that here now. And by that I mean little or no attention paid to the religious aspects of the holidays.

I don't know if I like now commercialized it's gotten (seems to be just a reason to buy stuff) but I really do like giving gifts that mean something to people, and getting together with friends and family.

It's funny how different other countries are. A friend from Australia said that they celecrate the same way we do, but they have a BBQ and go to the beach (where it's winter and snowing here). Not that they get snow in the winter anyway.

Which brings me to another question - is it summer is Vietnam now? I had never thought of that before.
 

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Your Christmas celebration is very simalar to the Christmas we celebrate in the US. It is really very interesting though to hear about other countries and their celebrations. This is a really neat post idea!

This is santa claus, he comes only on christmas eve when the children are sleeping to deliver presents all over the world.

Sant flies through the air on a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer

He has a bag full of toys

Santa leaves all the presents under the Christmas tree for the little children to find when they wake up

We also decorate our homes with lights


The lights are intended to represent the star te wise men followed to find Jesus the night he was born. We give gifts to celebratre the birth of Jesus to.

Also it is very snowy in my part of the US at Christmas time
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh Bean, I'm sorry to tell you that it's winter in Hanoi now. 8) Vietnam is in the tropical zone of the Earth but the North of Vietnam is like temperate zone with 4 distinct seasons. In winter, the weather is cold (about 10 to 15 degrees Celcius) but not snowy. We sometimes see snow on top of moutains such as Mau Son, Dong Van or Sapa. It never snows in Hanoi but I think it's cold enough for people from Europe or the US to feel Christmas atmosphere. :)



Lilly, could you tell me something about the way to decorate Christmas tree? In Vietnam, Christmas trees are small, man-made (almost they are plastic, not natural tree) and ready-made. We only buy one and put it in a table or in a corner of living room, few people decorate it themselves.
 

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We have alot of diferent kinds of trees, one kind is a real tree. This kind is nice because it smells like pine.
I have a fake tree, I dont know what it is made out of, it looks real only does not smell so nice. My tree is very tall, probably 8 feet high and very fat around. Some trees are smaller some are bigger. You can pick any size to fit your house. I like to have a fake tree because you can reuse it from year to year.

To decorate the tree you hang lights on it, they plug into the wall and twinkle on and off. Then you hang garland or tinsell on the tree. Next you put ornaments hanging off the branches. There are all different kinds of ornaments. Some are just balls of glass in different colors, others are minatures of santa or horses, or reindeer, alot of different kinds.

You always would put a star or an angel on top the tree.
here are some large trees




here is a photo of a small tree
 

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There are many ways to decorate trees here. Standard ways are miniature lights, and balls (chrome), and sometimes garland (sorta like strings with chrome strips attached that wrap around the tree). But they vary a lot. Some people make them all one colour (white balls and white lights for example), some people use artificial apples and cherries. Even candycanes.

And don't feel bad you can't have a real tree - many places in the city don't allow them for recycling purposes, or due to the mess they cause in apartment building.

Is there a Vietnamese end of year relegious tradition you have other than adobting Christmas? I know the Chinese New Year is celebrated in China.
 

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Although Christmas has become a commercial holiday, it is one of the two most important religious holidays in the US for all Christians, Protestants and Roman Catholics. the churches are decorated with poinsettia flowers. (They are red and are native to Mexico, but our greenhouses grow them in the US).

The choirs everywhere practice cantatas and anthems for many weeks preparing for the Christmas Eve service. Usually the 11:00 p.m. service is candlelit. At the end of the service in many churches, everyone lights a candle, the church is darkened and all sing Silent Night. It's very touching. Then the organist plays a very joyful carol, such as Joy to the World, and by that time it's midnight, Christmas! (The week before, there are pageants for the little children to reenact the nativity scene, dressed as shepherds, the three wise men, Angels and the holy family.)

Then everyone has to go to bed so that Santa can come. Although the birth of the Christ Child is the most important part of Christmas, the gifts represent the Greatest Gift ever given, the Child in the manger. Throughout the season, the goodness in people seems to radiate, and everyone is kinder and friendlier. The Christmas spirit of love is contagious!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bean said:
Is there a Vietnamese end of year relegious tradition you have other than adobting Christmas? I know the Chinese New Year is celebrated in China.

Like Chinese, Vietnamese people celebrate the Lunar New Year. We call it Tet. Tet is a very special holiday, the longest, the most important one. Tet lasts about a week or 10 days. I'll post details about Tet for you next month, when I see Tet colors in Hanoi's street.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In the church...


Some foreigners in Hanoi's street...


Mr. Santa, could you give me my gift? :p


Santa's motor broke down, who can lend him reideers??? :wink:
 
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