“We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy New Year”
The Christmas is coming to the town, in each house, stores, and restaurants, people decorate the Christmas tree with sparkling light strings, colorful ornaments and gifts; wreaths are ready hanged on the door, some others love to hang a small branch of mistletoe inside their house or in front of their porches.
You might note while you travel to Vietnam that Christian is not the main religion in Vietnam and so the Christmas is not an official holiday in Vietnam, but Vietnamese people love the holidays and so they love Christmas. The Christmas becomes one major holiday in Vietnam and is celebrated by people of all religions. The Christmas Eve is considered more important than Christmas day in Vietnam, people like to go to Midnight Mass service and to be blessed in Christmas Blessing.
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The history of Christmas celebration comes along with the influence of French domination. The heart of Vietnam Christian is the St Joseph Cathedral in Hanoi, it is the biggest cathedral in the northern of Vietnam and has a long history of about 120 years. The first Christmas was held in the St Joseph Cathedral in 1887 since then the place is always crowded by both Christians and tourists who wish to admire the architectural beauty and the holy mass. In St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi, the mass is always in French or Vietnamese.
Another place in Hanoi that you can attend the Christmas Mass in Hanoi is Cuc Bac Church, in which the mass will be held in both English and Vietnamese. Cua Bac Church, St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi and Ham Long Church are 3 main venues for Christian in Hanoi, and in 2006 the Church welcomed the United States President George W. Bush in his official visit to Vietnam.
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For anyone of you who booked a cruise in Halong bay on Christmas day, it is the best thing that you’ve done; for those who haven’t booked yet, you should do it right now. The Christmas celebration on board is something that you can’t miss. The Gala Dinner will be organized, together with cruise members and lovely fellow travelers; you have a Christmas dinner, sing together and cheer for each other. Not to mention the actual benefit is that you can get away from cooking and cleaning. And to some others, it is a relief to avoid a family dinner with relatives whom you don’t really can get along with.
All cruising activities are held as usual; you will discover the untouched beauty of Halong Bay by kayaking, visit Thien Canh Son Cave and have a delicious BBQ on the beach in the cozy atmosphere of winter time. If the Christmas night doesn’t knock you down with laugh and fun then you should get up early the next morning, you will be amazed by the foggy scenery in the bay just like a dreamy island from Neverland.
Usually, the Gala Dinner will be included in the package price but you should check with the tour company if they charge an extra fee for the Christmas night.