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"Vietnam Christmas, from the past to present, from old to new and holiday "

  • davidvht
    Posted: Oct 26, 2010 07:57 AM
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    Schenectady, NY
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    Christmas is one of the four most important festivals of the Vietnamese year, along with the Buddha’s birthday, Tet (the lunar New Year), and the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, known here as "Kito". The fesival is observed here with great gusto despite the fact that Buddhism is the dominant religion in Vietnam and Christians form only a minority.

    Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninhbinh Province is considered the spiritual home for the seven million Catholics who live here in Vietnam, a predominantly Buddhist nation. Hundreds of Catholics gather for Christmas Eve Mass in the northern city of Phat Diem. Children stage a nativity play to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ-or Kito, as he is known in Vietnamese-in front of the city’s cathedral, built in 1891.

    On Christmas Eve, Hanoians throng to the Catholic Cathedral in the city center. The streets are crowded with people and cars are banned for the night. People celebrate by throwing confetti, talking pictures, and enjoying the Christmas decorations and lights of hotels and department stores. Sidewalk cafes and restaurants are open so revelers can keep their lips wet for singing Christmas carols. As former colony, there are still French influences in the Christmas traditions of Vietnam.

    Many Catholic churches have a nativity scene or creche with nearly life-size statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds and animals. In some areas of Ho Chi Minh City, usually in Catholic parishes, people have crib scenes in front of their houses and decorate the whole street, turning them into Christmas neighborhoods.

    Also as in France, in Vietnam Christmas Eve dinner in called reveillon and has a buche de Noel ( a chocolate cake in the shape of a log ) for dessert. Vietnamese people like to give presents of food and a buche de Noel is a popular gift. Other Christmas presents are not very common, although some young people like to exchange Christmas cards.

    Children in Vietnam believe in the existence of Santa Claus and put their shoes in front of their doors on Christmas Eve. On the morning of 25th December, they wake up to find their boots filled with treats and presents laid under the Christmas tree. Merry Christmas in Vietnamese is “Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh“ !!!

    What should you do in Vietnam on Christmas?

    In Hanoi:

    Visit Joseph Cathedral or Nha Tho Lon in Vietnamese

    Enjoy city tour in the old quarter for Christmas preparation of Vietnamese people

    Have lunch in KOTO restaurant, operated by Vietnamese- Australian man, is the charity center for homeless children.

    In Halong Bay:

    Spend an enjoyable night on luxury cruise with seafood and sparkling wine

    In Hue:

    Dine in Vuon Y Thao restaurant for famous Vietnamese royal cuisine introduction and tasty

    Visit Hue Cathedral for amazing architecture and building story

    In Hoian:

    Visit City of Hoian for early history of Christianity’s arrival in Vietnam

    Bike along riverside road from Hoi An Center to Cua Dai Beach for beautiful country landscape and daily life of Vietnamese farmer.

    In Hochiminh City:

    Visit the most famous and beautiful church in Hochiminh Notre-Dame Basilica and enjoy Christmas celebration with Vietnamese people

    In Mekong Delta:

    Visit floating market and evergreen small canal

    Enjoy Vietnamese music performance and taste local fruits

    The best holiday to Vietnam on Christmas and New Year

    Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)

    Welcome to Vietnam, on arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport, our tour guide will greet you and transfer by private car through the city to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy 1 hour rickshaw ride to the Old Quarter. In the evening, you will enjoy welcomed dinner at local restaurant with authentic Vietnamese cuisines. Overnight in Hanoi.

    Day 2: Hanoi (B, L)

    After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy morning tour to Ho Chi Minh Complex including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s House on Stilt and One Pillar Pagoda, then visit Temple Of Literature. Next is Vietnam National Museum of Ethnology, the vast collection of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Enjoy lunch at Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant which is listed in the travel book “1000 places to see before you die”. After having lunch, make your way to Hoan Kiem Lake for Ngoc son Temple and Dong Xuan Market and in the evening, Joseph Cathedral before you will be entertained with Water Puppet Performance and Vietnamese traditional music at Thang Long Water puppet theatre. Overnight in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)

    Today, get up early for morning Tai Chi with local people at Hoan Kiem Lake, then have “Pho” the typical breakfast for Vietnamese people. Leaving Hanoi by road for Halong Bay, the world natural heritage site, enjoy drive though the rural area with scenic view of rice paddy field in the Red River Delta. You may be lucky enough to see cows or pigs on motor bike or Vietnamese kids ridding on water buffalo. After 3 hours driving, check in Vietnamese wooden junk. Journey along the spectacular limestone islands through floating villages while having sea food lunch, then disembark to visit 'Sung Sot' or “Surprising Cave”, one of the most imposing grottoes of the Bay. Next stop is Titop Island where you could swim or climb up to the top for panoramic view. In the evening, you will be delighted by candle light dinner on board with sea food. Overnight on board in Ha long bay.

    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi an (B, L)

    A breakfast will be served in the restaurant with the combination of western style and local one. Experience the Bay up close and personal with a leisure sampan tour to “Hang Luon” or “Lagoon Cave” allows you te see flora and fauna system of Catba National Park, then continue to Halong City. Enjoy the last seafood meal and disembark. In the afternoon, go back to Hanoi International airport for short flight (1 hour) to Da Nang then transfer to Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.

    Day 5: Hoi an (B, L)

    After your breakfast, enjoy a short bike to the ancient town of Hoi An and a walking tour to Janpanese covered - bridge, Phung Hung Ancient House, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and Chua Ong Pagoda. Lunch at local restaurant with traditional food and in the afternoon, enjoy peaceful boat ride along the Thu Bon River to Thanh Ha Ceramic village. The balance of the day is for relaxation in Cua Dai Beach or shopping in Hoian where you can find the best Vietnamese silk products and art-craft galleries. The evening is at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An

    Day 6: Hoi an - Hue (B, L, D)

    After your breakfast, leaving Hoi An for the city of Hue, the former imperial capital. On the way, visit the Cham Museum and drive over the 'Pass of Ocean and Clouds'. After having lunch in one of Hue's beautiful garden houses, tour the major attractions in Hue including The Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945, the Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum and the King Minh Mang tomb. This special treat is dinner at Vuon Y Thao Restaurant for royal cuisines. A superb 3-course meal will be served by royal style. Overnight at hotel in Hue

    Day 7: Hue - Hochiminh City (B, D)

    Breakfast at the hotel then take the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, followed by an orientation visit to the former Presidential Palace, the War Remnants Museum, the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Saigon Post Office the afternoon tour leads you to Cho Lon Quarter or “Big Market” area where major trading activities take place. You will be experienced southern hospitality this evening at a candlelight dinner at local restaurant with southern taste. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Day 8: Hochiminh City - Mekong Delta - Hochiminh City (B, L)

    After breakfast at your hotel, depart for the Mekong Delta Tour, enjoy 1 hour drive through Vietnam's picturesque countryside with its rice paddies and rural villages. Upon arrival in the Delta This morning a cruise led by a local tour guide shows you about Cái Bè floating market, traditional village, evergreen orchard then move to traditional sampan which allows you to discover the smaller canals and tributaries of this region. Have lunch at local restaurant with Elephant Ear Fish and go back to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh

    Day 9: Hochiminh City Departure (B)

    Today, you will have free day for your own activities in Ho Chi Minh City. Your private car and guide will take you to Tan Son Nhat Airport for international flights or a domestic extension.

    This article is written by Vietnam Heritage Travel, email us for more information and if you are planning to visit Vietnam. Should you use our professional live help for pre-trip information, useful tips and constant support.


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