What does Christmas in Vietnam look like?

Many international tourists are surprised by Christmas in Vietnam, where most people follow Buddhism or Taoism.

Only 8% of the population follows Christians, but every Christmas season, a lovely atmosphere and colors flood the neighborhoods. At churches and the houses surrounding it hang colorful lights with flowers to respond to the bustling coming-ups.

christmas in vietnam

Vietnamese Christmas tree

Vietnam is a tropical country, but despite this, an abundance of pine trees grows in the mountainous regions along the country. It means finding a pine tree to decorate during Christmas is possible in many places here.

However, a fresh pine plant is expensive, so most people choose a Christmas tree made of plastic, paper, cloth, iron, and tinsel. The people call it “Cây Thông Noel” in Vietnamese, meaning “the Pine Noel Tree” because Christmas in Vietnam is also understood as Noel.

noel pine tree in vietnam
Many plastic Noel pine trees are sold in Vietnam.

Big companies or supermarkets can make Christmas trees with other materials. For example, Vinpearl supermarket often prepares a tall Christmas tree with an iron frame, then arranges blue glass beer bottles or plastic pine leaves, attracting many young people to take pictures.

The items to decorate the pine tree are similar to those of European countries, including spheres, tinsel, fake paper or foam snowflakes, gift boxes, fake candies, and colored lights.

No matter how decorated or with what materials, everyone looks forward to the warm and cheerful colors to welcome the peaceful Christmas season coming to life.

Besides beautiful Christmas trees, Catholics in Vietnam decorate their houses with lanterns and build small resurrection caves to add new colors and vitality to their homes.

Santa Claus in Vietnam

Oh! It would be remiss not to mention an important person during the Christmas season, Santa Claus. Although Vietnam has hot temperatures, many people wear thick red clothes to transform into Santa Claus.

Santa Claus in Vienam
Many people in Vietnam like to take pictures with Santa Claus.

From the beginning of December every year, somewhere on the streets, you will see the image of old men with fake white beards in red Santa clothes delivering gift packages.

In particular, it is exciting for children to take pictures with Santa when receiving gifts, visiting amusement parks, or shopping at malls.

The image of Santa Claus has become popular in Vietnam. Everyone assumes that, when they see Santa on the streets or at the supermarkets, it is the Christmas season coming.

Santa Claus in Vietnam has become the sweet symbol of bringing joy through small gifts everywhere. That is when the hearts of everyone are warmed.

Reasons why Vietnamese celebrate Christmas

Christmas did not originate in Vietnam, but it was quickly adopted, becoming a festival not only for Christians but for most Vietnamese people.

Most Vietnamese no longer think celebrating Christmas is to serve spiritual needs, but it has become a fest in the colorful culture of Vietnam. Christmas is accepted as a beautiful custom in today’s life.

It is a time when both children and adults eagerly await lovely gifts and good wishes from Santa Claus or loved ones. Friends gather to hold a party at home, enjoy a friendly meeting at restaurants, or talk together at Vietnamese coffee shops. These elements create a cozy atmosphere filled with love and hope, bringing a sense of peace to everyone.

family reunion on christmas days
Celebrating Christmas together brings warm feelings to everyone.

Christians and non-Christians may have different ways of celebrating Christmas, but they have things in common: Sharing love, staying together towards happiness, and wishing all the best for life.

Celebrating Christmas, wherever in the world, the message of love that people send to each other is not different. Proving why Christmas is welcome, contributing to enriching the spiritual life and cultural activities of Vietnamese people on the way to integration with the world.

Every time the bell rings, holding hands to pray will dispel all distinctions and distances, bringing warmth, happiness, and well-being. That is a noble reason that Christmas in Vietnam is celebrated and strongly welcomed.

>> You may want to read how snow in Vietnam is.

A suggested gift to give a Vietnamese for Christmas

Every time December comes, especially after the 15th of this month, everyone eagerly looks forward to receiving gifts, whether small or large, but rich in meaning from loved ones.

Gifts, just a beanie, a pair of gloves, a scarf, or any lovely Christmas present, can make winter warmer.

go shopping for christmas gift
Go shopping for Christmas gifts.

People with more conditions can give each other more valuable items but always make meaningful requests, such as gifting each other a trip to new lands.

In short, if you want to give Christmas gifts to children, prepare interesting toys, cute dresses for girls, or bags of delicious Vietnamese candy. As for adults, simple valuables such as scarves, shirts, hats, and small decorative items will be a good gift suggestion.

shop sells gifts for christmas in vietnam
A shop sells gifts for Christmas in Vietnam.

Where to go on Christmas Eve

Most people eagerly look forward to Christmas Eve, especially Christians and young people. Typically, you can find young people in many places in the city on Christmas Eve.

They often choose restaurants for parties and hang out together at cafes before 11 PM.

From 11 PM to Midnight, it is a time when people often gather at the big churches in the city to admire the shimmering lights and welcome the peaceful space of Christmas.

In big cities in Vietnam, the central cathedral in Hanoi or Notre Dame in Ho Chi Minh City is the most prominent gathering area. These churches are the largest concentration of attendees, sharing the Christmas atmosphere. Moreover, in Saigon, many exciting activities take place on Nguyen Hue pedestrian street, so do not miss this place on Christmas Eve.

go out for christmas in vietnam
Go to the church during Christmas. ©Vietnamdrive

FAQ related to Christmas in Vietnam

How can I say Santa in Vietnamese?

Santa or Santa Claus becomes familiar with everyone, including children. So, most people in Vietnam still know who Santa is when you mention Santa. Also, you hear people call Santa in Vietnamese: “Ông Già Noel”, pronounced as “on-yeah-noel”.

In the mind of the locals, Santa Claus is a man with red clothes, a long white beard like snow, wearing a red hat, and carrying a beautiful gift bag on his shoulder.

Is Christmas a holiday in Vietnam?

Christmas is not an official holiday in Vietnam. However, everyone awaits Christmas with the eager expectations of warmth, joy, and happiness.

How long is Christmas celebrated in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, Christmas is officially held on the evening of December 24 until the end of December 25.

These two Christmas days are vital in the spiritual life of all Christian people. For non-believers, Christmas is only the night of December 24.

However, from the beginning of December every year, the Christmas atmosphere has covered all the country. In particular, shops, restaurants, hotels, and shopping places are splendidly decorated, launching promotions to welcome the jubilation of the Christmas season.

A shop decorates for Christmas
A shop decorates for Christmas.

How can I say “Merry Christmas” in Vietnamese?

Merry Christmas is called “Giáng Sinh An Lành” in Vietnamese, pronounced as “young-sin-an-land” (land said without d).

Many people also say Happy Christmas, meaning “Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh” in Vietnamese.

What Christmas song is popular in Vietnam?

Many Christmas songs in Vietnam go along with the years and generations. Prominent among them is the song: “Bài Thánh Ca Buồn” (Sad Hymn), the author Nguyen Vu, and the best performing singer is Dam Vinh Hung.

Please listen to this melody song!

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.