Hanoi celebrates Christmas with unity and love

Christmas is no more limited to being a Catholic celebration but rather a day of joy for all, brimming with hope for peace, fortune, and a prosperous and delightful existence.

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Despite the cold weather this Christmas in Hanoi, the peaceful and festive atmosphere for the Catholic community and Hanoi’s townspeople remains undiminished. The streets are filled with joy and festive spirit, creating a vibrant and lively ambiance.

Locals gather at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Nha Chung Street to celebrate Christmas. The photos capture the joyous moments of the celebration.

A Christmas of unity…

Euphoria is in the air in Thach Bich Parish, Bich Hoa Commune, and Thanh Oai District as the Catholic community celebrates their most sacred holiday. Everyone comes together to decorate homes and light up the streets, especially on Thach Bich Church premises.

Thach Bich Parish is a longstanding and prominent Hanoi Archdiocese parish with approximately 8,000 parishioners. It consistently upholds the spirit of ‘living a good life following the faith.’ The parish actively engages in economic development and contributes to social activities, working together to build a prosperous homeland.

In Ha Hoi Parish, Thuong Tin District, with over 1,800 Catholic faithful, the community is united in building happy families and a prosperous homeland. This year, Ha Hoi commune reached an average per capita income of VND72 million ($2,972), and there are no impoverished households in the Catholic community. It is particularly noteworthy that Ha Hoi commune has fulfilled all the criteria and conditions to be recognized as a model new-style rural commune, which makes the celebration even more joyous.

Over the years, Hanoi’s authorities have consistently prioritized improving the quality of life and ensuring social welfare for the general population, including the Catholic community. Every year, city and local authorities visit and send greetings to religious dignitaries and the Catholic community, emphasizing an open, tight, and sincere relationship between the Party committees, government agencies, the Fatherland Front, and other organizations with religious institutions and dignitaries.

During Christmas 2023 and the upcoming New Year 2024, Hanoi leaders visited and congratulated various religious institutions, such as the Hung Hoa Diocese in Son Tay Town, the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics in Hanoi, the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North), the Evangelical Church in Hanoi, and Thai Ha Parish in Dong Da District.

The city leaders expressed their warm congratulations, recognizing the contributions of religious dignitaries and the Catholic community to the city’s development and praising the strong patriotism of the Catholic believers in the capital. The city leaders hoped that with their prestige and responsibility, priests and nuns would continue to care for and lead the Catholic community. They encourage them to continue contributing to building the homeland and the nation, fostering innovation, and strengthening the unity of the entire people while abiding by the Law on Beliefs and Religions.

…and love

On this Christmas night, Hanoi’s streets are lit up with vibrant colors of decorative lights, Christmas trees, Santa Claus figures, and gift boxes of various sizes. The roads to downtown and Catholic churches are bustling with people and vehicles. Despite the cold weather and dense crowds, the atmosphere exudes warmth and serenity.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Nha Chung Street (Hoan Kiem District) is always the biggest draw of Christmas celebrations, where people gather to revel in the festive ambiance. The cathedral is adorned early with prominent Christmas trees, enchanting decorations, and a Nativity scene next to the Virgin Mary statue. On Christmas Eve, crowds flock to St. Joseph’s Cathedral to soak up the festive atmosphere, listen to the church bells, and harmonize with carols.

At the same time, Ham Long Church on the namesake street (Hoan Kiem District) dazzles with thousands of sparkling lights. Among those attending the Christmas service at Ham Long Church, Chu Thanh Hien from Hue Street, Hai Ba Trung District, said that she frequents Ham Long Church during Christmas due to its proximity, where she finds a peaceful yet festive ambiance.

“Christmas is no longer exclusively a Catholic celebration; but rather a joyful day for everyone, filled with hope for peace, luck, and a good and beautiful life,” Hien said.

During this festive season, numerous entertainment venues in Hanoi are splendidly adorned and host diverse Christmas activities. Prominent shopping centers like Trang Tien Plaza, Vincom Ba Trieu, Time City, Royal City, Lotte Mart, and Aeon Mall display giant Christmas trees, reindeer motifs, and Santa Claus.

At Vincom Ba Trieu, visitors can enjoy a circus performance by Santa Claus and the Snow Princess, marvel at a snowy path illuminated with soft blue lights, and admire unique reindeer-themed cars.

Time City is elegantly decorated with typical Christmas scenes, featuring reindeer, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and more. Notably, the water music area provides an enchanting experience for everyone during the Christmas season.

Whether Christmas is celebrated in churches, entertainment venues, pedestrian areas, or Christmas merchandise streets, the prevailing mood is one of joy and tranquility, making for a meaningful holiday.