Christmas spirit pervades Saigon alleys

By Thanh Tran, Huu Khoa   December 24, 2019 | 12:02 pm GMT+7

The birth of Christ is celebrated in many Saigon alleys inhabited by followers of the faith and others join wholeheartedly in the celebrations.

The Christian families across Saigon in District 8, Tan Binh and Go Vap Districts rejoice in Christmas festive multicolor lighting, a re-imagination of the birth of Christ under a hut in Bethlehem caves where Jesus was born, and beloved carols filling the alleys.The decoration was put up two weeks before Christmas designed to fit with life in the labyrinth of Saigon alleys.

Christian families in District 8, Tan Binh and Go Vap districts decorate their streets, build nativity scenes, sing carols and have Santa Claus present gifts in a celebration that the whole neighborhood participates in. The decorations are put up weeks for Christmas Eve.

Tran Long Phi, 60, has been taking his granddaughter to the Christmas decoration every night.

Tran Long Phi, 60, takes his granddaughter see the lights and the nativity scenes every night.

There is a bag hung at every cave, adults in the neighborhood would put candies in it and give them to children whenever they come to see the decoration, Phi said as he handed a candy to a kid.

"There is a bag hung at every cave, adults in the neighborhood put candies in it and give them to children whenever they come to see the decorations," Phi said as he handed a candy to a kid in a Santa Claus dress.

A father and daughter pose by a Christmas decoration in Dat Thanh street in Tan Binh District. Dat Thanh means the land of saint.

A father and daughter pose by a nativity scene on Dat Thanh street in Tan Binh District. Dat Thanh means land of the saint.

In the alley which belong to the Chi Hoa church in Tan Binh, there are only nine Christian households, but they themselves put up three sizeable and elaborate Bethlehem caves and outdoors decorations.Cao Hoang Tuan, 43 (right) said every year they have different ideas for decoration.At the beginning of the month, we came up with ideas and plunged right into it. Each family contributes whatever they can. We spent VND25 million ($1,079) on the lighting, stars, and other decorative items. We all are busy with our lives, but once we had an idea of what we want, everyone got together and got things done in a weekend, Tuan said.

In the alley which belongs to the Chi Hoa church in Tan Binh, there are only nine Christian households, but they put up three sizeable and elaborate Bethlehem caves and outdoor decorations.

Cao Hoang Tuan, 43 (right) said every year they have different ideas for the decoration.

"At the beginning of the month, we came up with several ideas and plunged right into it. Each family contributes whatever they can. We spent VND25 million ($1,079) on the lighting, stars, and other decorative items," Tuan said. " We all are busy with our lives, but once we get an idea of what we want, everyone gets together and we get things done in a weekend."

Christians shoot the breeze under the Christmas light and ambience.

Christians shoot the breeze under Christmas ambience.

Chuyen, 80, a resident in the alley records the moment with his camera.I’m so weak now so I can only go to places near home and take my camera with me to capture the moments and post them on Facebook. On Christmas night, I’m going to rent a xe om (motorbike taxi) to take me around the city to see the Christmas decorations, Chuyen said.

Chuyen, 80, a resident in the alley, gets into the Xmas spirit with his camera.

"I’m very weak now so I can only go to places near home and take my camera with me to capture the moments and post them on Facebook. On Christmas night, I’m going to rent a xe om (motorbike taxi) to take me around the city and see the Christmas decorations," Chuyen said.

A scene from the bible is reenacted at Binh Thuan church on Pham The Hien Street, District 8.According to the bible, Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus by her husband Saint J Joseph in the manger in Bethlehem in the southern region of Judea which is where Palestine is now today. The angels announced that the baby would be Jesus the Messiah.

The nativity scene erected at the Binh Thuan church on Pham The Hien Street, District 8.

According to the bible, Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus by her husband Saint J Joseph in the manger in Bethlehem in the southern region of Judea which is where Palestine is now today.

A Bethlehem cave erected on Pham The Hien becomes a hangout spot for kids at night. This is one of famous Christian neighborhoods in Saigon.

A Bethlehem cave erected on Pham The Hien street becomes a hangout spot for kids at night. This is one of famous Christian neighborhoods in Saigon.

At the communal house in Binh Thuan church in District 8, children rehearse their Christmas carols and dances for a performance on Christmas night.

Outside the Binh Thuan church in District 8, children rehearse carols and dances for a performance on Christmas night.

Nguyen The Hoang, 63, puts on a Santa Claus outfit and gives out presents to kids on Pham The Hien Street. I have been doing this for ten years every Christmas season. The gift is small but it makes the kids so happy, it gives me joy, Hoang said.

Nguyen The Hoang, 63, is a Santa Claus on Pham The Hien street, giving candy to all kids who pass by. "I have been doing this for ten years every Christmas season. The gift is small but it makes the kids so happy, it gives me joy," Hoang said.

 
 
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