Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas In Vietnam

(PICTURE: Santa's motorbike helpers.)

I apologize for the extended hiatus but starting today Ahoy Hanoi will be up and running again. I've got about 1,000 potential posts from the wedding but before I begin those, I'll just comment on Christmas in Vietnam.

You might be surprised to hear this but Christmas is a big deal in Vietnam. Sure Christianity is a minority religion but that doesn't stop the majority from feeling Christmas spirit. All over Hanoi, Christmas lights are twinkling from the trees, telephone poles and cafes. There's even a temporary Christmas decoration street in the Old Quarter where you can buy Santa outfits, Styrofoam snowmen and basically anything else you could imagine for the holidays.

Last night, we tried to get a taxi to go to dinner with my parents and were told that all the taxis were busy for Christmas Eve. Eventually Huyen got us a small taxi which meant that Su and I had to ride on our motorbike. From the best of my understanding (and questioning), people here just like to celebrate Christmas as a chance to go out to dinner and drive around. No Vietnamese people I know give each other presents, they just say "Merry Christmas" and leave it at that. Being a Jew, In America I never totally got into the Christmas spirit. Sure I love the decorations and the movies and the parties, but beyond that I always felt like an outsider on the holiday as I ate Chinese food with my family. However, in Vietnam we're almost all outsiders so it's fun to smile at one another, send texts and wish each other a Merry Christmas. So, Merry Christmas everyone!