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[Photos] Catholic Neighborhoods in Saigon Celebrate Christmas With Elaborate Nativity Scenes

Unlike most of the western world, Saigoneers see Christmas as less of a time for cozy gatherings at home with family and friends but more as an oppotunity to take to the street to bask in the festive atmosphere.

Over the past few weeks, in some neighborhoods, local residents have been getting in the holiday spirit with elaborate Christmas decorations. These arrangements have been popping up on streets surrounding a number of Catholic churches. Families have come out in droves to enjoy the uncharacteristically chilly air and to take in the bright glow of Christmas lights strung from balconies.

Elaborate nativity scenes and Christmas trees can be spotted in the narrow alleys of neighborhoods along Pham The Hien Street in District 8 and Nghia Phat Street in Tan Binh District. Throughout many districts, we captured scenes of families enjoying a quiet meal or gathering in front of churches to take portraits together while children in Santa Clause costumes scampered about.

Have a look into how Saigon's Catholic communities celebrate Christmas below:

A family enjoy a quiet evening together under the lights with this small nativity scene in front of the Nghia Hoa Church. Photo by Brandon Coleman

A card hanging from the branches of a Christmas tree. Photo by Brandon Coleman

Lights and garland neatly adorn this gate in Tan Binh District. Photo by Brandon Coleman

A small nativity scene tucked in a hẻm on Nghia Phat Street in Tan Binh District. Photo by Brandon Coleman.

Nha Tho Tan Phu is a large Catholic church found in Tan Phu District. Photo by Kevin Lee.

Nativity scenes in Pham The Hien are some of the biggest you will see in Saigon, all done by residents of the area. Photo by Kevin Lee.

Visitors stop by each scene for a photo opportunity, even if it holds up traffic for a bit. Photo by Kevin Lee.

Residents in Tan Phu District taking photos with beautifully decorated nativity scenes. Photo by Kevin Lee.

Families come out in droves to streets like Pham The Hien in District 8 of Saigon to soak up the Christmas atmosphere. Photo by Kevin Lee.

Locals celebrating the holiday cheer with food, song and beer. Photo by Kevin Lee.

One of the many nativity scenes set up along small streets. Photo by Kevin Lee.

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