Vietnam has been introduced to Halloween and as with most things, the Vietnamese have put their own unique spin on this unofficial holiday. The celebrations sometimes start the night before October 31st but Halloween is quickly becoming a fun, spirited people-watching event with every year. As East meets West, you will see witches, ghosts, the walking dead and goblins riding their motorbikes all over the bigger cities of Saigon and Hanoi. You may even find a haunted house filled with devilish scary things and see that many businesses are decorated with pumpkins and skeletons.
More family friendly events are available away from the “walking street” bars and clubs that feature festive decorations, bright lights and cute childrens’ costumes. Tourists that visit Vietnam in late October are surprised by the popularity of Halloween as many hotels and malls have trick-or-treating and concerts for the kids. If you have scheduled a trip to Southeast Asia over Halloween, be sure to pack a scary mask or simple costume so you can join in the spooky and fun festivities. Don’t worry if you have nothing to wear because stores to buy Halloween decorations and costumes are popping up in the larger cities. Most locals don’t wear full costumes and prefer to don only a mask or have their faces painted by one of the many available artists out on the street. Whether you join in on the parade or sit back to marvel at the people going by, this celebration is an event not to be missed.
Weddings are full of love, hopes and dreams of the future, blah, blah, blah, I’m not down on love, just skeptical because I don’t believe most people are brutally honest with themselves about what they expect out of marriage, their partner or themselves. I tried marriage one time, it was not necessarily for the right reasons and I’m apparently not a very good judge of character but the reception for about 400 people was an awesome party and I’d do that part again in a minute. In Vietnam, wedding receptions are like fashion shows, the bride rents, yes, rents, three or four dresses in different colors and she changes throughout the party and the wedding ceremony and reception are on different days. Another interesting thing is that the parties are not only on the weekend, I suppose when you have over 10 million people living in Saigon, you take what is available. I’ve noticed that not much attention is paid to certain days of the week except for school children, these folks work hard every day, doing whatever is necessary to get ahead and take care of each other. I keep saying that the entrepreneurial spirit here is inspiring and heart warming and family is the key!
No matter what you wear, you can be sure that there will be yummy Vietnamese food and cold drinks. Someone sitting at my table always offers to “take up” my bowl or plate, I can’t imagine they think I’m starving so I’m sure it’s to be friendly or hospitable-Vietnamese people will always serve a guest first. Either way, it’s all fun, delicious and I don’t have to fend for myself or take a chance with food that is unrecognizable. I only wish they had good cake! Most wedding cakes are only for show and made out of styrofoam because dessert is not high on the list of must-have reception food, another reason why most here remain healthy and thin. I won’t say “never” but the likelihood of me getting married is quickly fading away, especially living in a country with an average age of about 27 to 30!