A happy Christmas atmosphere has filled various corners of the country in recent days.

Greetings for a merry and peaceful Christmas have been sent out to Catholics nationwide, including that from Minister of Home Affairs Nguyen Thai Binh during his visit to the Xuan Loc Bishop’s Office in Long Khanh district, southern Dong Nai province on December 24.

There, Binh spoke highly of important socio-economic contributions made by the Catholic dignitaries and followers of Xuan Loc diocese and hoped that they will exert further efforts to national development.

Bishop Nguyen Chu Trinh affirmed he will continue encouraging dignitaries and followers to strictly implement policies and laws of the Party and State and unite in making the country prosperous.

In Hanoi , despite the cold spell, thousands of people flocked to Hoan Kiem Lake , Saint Joseph Cathedral, Ham Long, Lang Tam, Hang Bot, and Cua Bac Churches , where splendid and colorful decorative lights were sparkling, to join in welcoming Christmas Eve.

The sound of the signature “Jingle Bells” song was overflowing in the air in the main streets of the capital.

Meanwhile, Catholics, Protestants and others in Ho Chi Minh City celebrated Christmas in a cheerful and happy atmosphere in cool weather.

Shops, trade and entertainment centres located in main roads to the heart of the city were shining gorgeously with light bulb-shaped Santa Clause, reindeers, snow flakes and Christmas trees.

Popular destinations in the city, like Notre Dame Cathedral, trade centres, and central roads in District 1, as well as Catholic villages, were filled with Christmas carols. A procession of the Holy Infant was excitedly watched by visitors.

Vu Thi Oanh, a parishioner from Nam Hai parish in District 8, said although having to tighten the belt for Christmas due to the gloomy economic situation, she and her Christian fellows still enjoyed a warm, happy Christmas with a strong belief in a better life in the year to come.

Priest Nguyen Cong Danh, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Vietnam Committee for Catholic Solidarity, said Christmas brings happiness to all, not only Christians and wished a merry Christmas to everyone.

In northern Ninh Binh province, the Phat Diem Stone Church, which was luminous and splendid with neon lights, gorgeous decorations and inviting carols, welcomed thousands of Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Church is located in Kim Son coastal district, which was dubbed “the capital” of Catholicism for having nearly 80,000 Catholic followers, or over 47 percent of the district’s population.

Priest Vu Duc Phuong of Hoa Lac parish, which is home to 3,800 Catholic followers, said Christmas is a festival for everyone, where all together pray for a peaceful and happy life and show determination to build the country.-VNA