Posted by Amy
Just wanted to send out a Happy Holiday wish to all our friends and family.
We are observing our own version of Hanukkah this year. We were in Ho Chi Minh City where our niece Jackie told us there was a great Chabad House. We thought we would stop in, eat a kosher meal and pick up some Hanukkah candles. Even though we mapquested the address, it was not to be. We never found that elusive Chabad House, so no candles for us. Our Hanukkah celebrations have consisted of saying the prayers and pretending to light the candles. Instead of gifts, which would only weigh our packs down, we decided to do a touchy-feely Hanukkah. Each night we pick a person from our family, and we all go around and say a special memory of that sister or parent from this trip. I would say it is working out great so far. No one seems to miss the presents at all. Although when David suggested we forget about presents next year too and make this a permanent Goldman tradition, the kids strongly suggested we return to the present giving ritual once we get home.
We were also able to join the family Hanukkah party back home through Skype. It was just like being there, only we didn’t have a chance to pick the Bedazzled Toilet Plunger or the extra large box of Whitman’s chocolates for ourselves.
We were actually surprised to find out that so many Vietnamese people celebrate Christmas. Less than 10% of the population is Christian, but it seems like everyone celebrates the holiday. Decorations are everywhere and people want to know where we will be spending our Christmas holiday. When we try to explain that we are Jewish and do not celebrate Christmas, there is a total communication breakdown. They aren’t Christian and they are celebrating the holiday, so our explanation does not make much sense to them. Where back home, we might have some conflicted feelings about celebrating a holiday belonging to another’s religion, here they seem to have no such qualms. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any decorations connecting Vietnamese Christmas to Jesus or Mary or Joseph, just Santa and presents. They definitely got that marketing message. And when they want to know what we do on Christmas Eve, and we respond that we usually eat Chinese food, well this is particularly funny in this part of the world.
Wherever you are and whatever you may be celebrating, have a happy time doing it!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness this holiday season.