we don’t really like Christmas. Previously, channelling my internal fourteen-year old, we stormed out of a family group supper and swore i might never return house for xmas once again. And because my internal fourteen-year old is approximately as persistent as my external thirty-something, I’ve stuck to my guns. This year, I’ll be moving in a hammock on a Cambodian tropical island utopia. So there.
You’d think Vietnam is a good location for Scrooges, but really the Vietnamese love Christmas time. After all, they love xmas. Yearly, come December 1, the entire of Hanoi is immediately festooned with fairy lights, fake snow, and electric Santas playing saxophones. Every supermarket and café switches their particular playlist to Kindergarten Children Singing Jingle Bells On Perform.
Hàng Mã, the road inside Old Quarter which offers an ever-changing variety of regular designs, is enveloped in fumes of motorbike exhaust and poor-quality tinsel as drive-by consumers go psychological for trees, wreaths and Santa matches.
In reality, i might hedge that Santa suits are far more popular in Vietnam than in Australian Continent. Here, anybody of every age, intercourse or stature can whack on some saggy red polyester to get into the festive vibe. There isn't any understanding for the needed Santa decorum, nor regarding the great obligations that fall towards user of his fit. A Vietnamese Santa may indeed be a skinny teenage parking attendant who is smoking ten-cent Vinataba cigarettes and squeezing his pimples using a motorbike’s side mirror. While using a saggy Santa suit.
This isn’t the one and only thing a little skew-whiff about Vietnam’s take on Christmas. There might be a good amount of phony presents beneath the fake trees covered in phony snow, but there’s certainly not any real gift-giving, nor any kind of festive feasts. The sole turkeys and hams and Christmas time puddings being offered are the ones imported obtainable to expats desperately wanting to push away homesickness.
In fact, aside from the nation’s Catholic mass-going minority, December 25 in Vietnam comes and goes like any other day's the season. Not only is it not any occasion, it's not even known as the xmas Day. In the office into the lead up to Christmas a couple of years ago, in the middle of polystyrene snowmen obstructing the photocopier and peers all putting on Santa hats, I had to spell out at great length the reason why I wanted to take December 25 off work. The idea that Christmas time was an actual occasion, taking place at a particular time, and not just four weeks of tinsel and Jingle Bells had been entirely novel.
If you’ve ever wondered exactly what Christmas time appears like with regards to’s already been stripped of all custom, all cultural and religious meaning, and all sorts of individual importance, that is it: xmas in Vietnam. The next time you’re saying that xmas is becoming also commercial or dropping its genuine meaning, you can easily indicate Vietnam as a cautionary example. “Santas don’t also say ‘Ho ho ho’ here!” it is possible to say.