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Published: December 22nd 2008
Christmas is not a big event in Vietnam and Hanoi in particular, but it’s getting more attention nowadays, especially from the young people. The only place in Hanoi where you can feel Christmas atmosphere is the St Joseph’s Cathedral (built in 1886). A few days before the event, the cathedral is beautifully decorated. In the evening of 24th December the streets around the cathedral are blocked off, so we only can walk into the area. It’s very crowded by mid night, as many people try to get inside the cathedral. The 5-star hotels in Hanoi also organize Christmas parties. Children at some orphanages and charity centers also celebrate the event with presence of western volunteers.
There are shops on Lương Văn Can street in the Old Quarter that sell Santa Claus outfits and Christmas decorations. Many families in Hanoi have started gift delivery services for their children. It's so funny seeing Vietnamese boys dressed like Santa either riding on a motorbike (with helmets) or running through the streets. They sometimes get caught in traffic and arrive late at their destination. Children in Hanoi like others in different countries cannot wait for Santa to arrive on Christmas day.
Christmas atmosphere is quiet here in Hanoi, while it’s more exciting in Sài Gòn. My cousin emailed me and said the streets and shops there are nicely decorated. Only Christians and people working for some western organizations can take holiday at Christmas, while we still work as usual.
The photos in this blog were taken at the St Joseph's Cathedral, the 5-star Sofitel Metropole Hotel, the Vincom City Towers and some shops in Hanoi. You can see beautiful grottoes at the gate and on the right side of the St Joseph's Cathedral. Some years there's no decoration on the front side, but a grotto is set up at the rear of the cathedral. Some fashion fairs are open at the parks and exhibition centers in Hanoi that attracts visit of many people.
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