Vietnamese town lights up Xmas Eiffel tower

By VnExpress   December 21, 2016 | 10:16 pm PT
A single Catholic parish inexplicably built the 34 meter tower out of steel and bamboo.

Christmas isn't an official public holiday in Vietnam where most of the population practices a mix of ancestor worship, Buddhism and the Chinese philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism. 

The first Jesuit missionaries arrived in Vietnam in 1614, but Catholic conversion grew widely under French colonial rule. Today, Christians of various persuasions make up roughly ten percent of the country's population.

The link between French colonialism and christianity was apparently not lost on the Yen Dai Parish in the city of Vinh, which decided to celebrate the season by cobbling together a replica of the Eiffel tower. 




Members of the Yen Dai Parish decided to celebrate the season by erecting a 34-meter Eiffel tower and stringing it with 1,000 meters of electric lights.

The structure was built out of bamboo and 100 kg of steel. The structure would remain standing until the start of the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year) which falls in late January. Tuoi tre reported that a smaller Eiffel tower erected in 2007 was later purchased for $317.

A group of around 60 families contributed VND1 million ($44) to fund the project, which stands just a few miles from Ho Chi Minh's boyhood home.

The designers of the tower, which sits on a dusty stretch of road in Nghi Phu Commune, decided to suspend a single Christmas tree topped with an electric crucifix from its center. The tower (and its suspended tree) get illuminated every night at 6 p.m.

A Catholic correspondent based in the city said the families wanted to do something unique for the holiday, so they settled on the Eiffel Tower. "Even us Christians agree it has nothing to do with Christmas," he told VnExpress International.

Photos by VnExpress/Hai Binh

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