Some thoughts about Christmas in nam.

Nothing strikes Christmas joy into the heart more than 18 hyperactive Vietnamese 8 year olds dancing around a classroom singing ‘jingle bells’ in enthusiastic broken English. I was playing a variation of musical statues with them (when the music stops, I say a word ‘dance/walk/sing’ and they do it, it’s listening and verb practice!) and chose a Christmas CD because it was 07.45 am and I needed to be cheered up; I hate mornings.

My work have been playing carols out of reception, decorated the entrance with Christmas trees and tinsel and we’ve been doing Christmas activities. It must be confusing for the children, none of them are Christian as far as I know, they’ve all got school on ‘Christmas day’. I think they just like the party atmosphere, much the same way a lot of people, such as myself, celebrate a secular Christmas. Lots of shops here have also put up Christmas decorations, it’s so incongruous seeing a frosted, ‘snowy’  grotto in 35 degree heat.

This cultural confusion was conveyed best by the child that asked me “Why isn’t baby Jesus on top of the tree?”. It must be odd trying to make sense of the Christmas tree, presents, a fat man in a red suit, some reindeer, snow and some really famous baby who belongs to some complicated theological system that’s entirely alien to them! Wait til Easter, then they’ll be super confused!


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