Christmas | Aqua Expeditions

Ring in the Holidays with Peruvian and Vietnamese Christmas Traditions

7 years ago Just For Fun, Local Lore

The holiday season and Christmas is upon us again and it’s time to celebrate like the Peruvians and Vietnamese this year!


Vietnamese Christmas Traditions

Do vietnamese celebrate Christmas? Yes, they do! Reflecting on western traditions, during Christmas season, Vietnamese enjoy celebrating the holiday with immense joy. Christmas is one of the four main annual religious festivals celebrated in Vietnam.


Christmas Traditions in Vietnam

  • Around the Mekong River where the Aqua Mekong sails, Christmas, while not a national holiday, is popular among young people in major cities such as Ho Chi Minh. Streets are crowded with residents throwing confetti and taking pictures of the festive holiday decor and lights (inspired by Western traditions) in hotels and shopping malls.
  • Catholic churches showcase a nativity crib scene or “creche” that includes life sized statues of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.
  • The essential Christmas Eve meal called reveillion includes “bûche de Noël,” a chocolate cake shaped in a log – which is also a popular gift given to loved ones.
  • Giving Christmas gifts delivered by bike has become increasingly popular over the past decade as parents hire a Vietnamese Santa, called Ông già Noel, to hand deliver gifts to their kids via motorbikes.






Here are some members of our own Singapore-based team at Aqua Expeditions in full Christmas mode!


Christmas Team Shot

From everyone at Aqua Expeditions, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!


While some Christmas traditions practiced in Peru are similar to those found in the U.S., there are also various unique holiday season traditions that reflect Peru’s unique culture and history, making this country a truly special and memorable place to spend the holiday season.



Traditional Peruvian Christmas Traditions

  • Noche Buena: “Noche Buena” (Good Night) is what Peruvians call Christmas Eve, and this night is more important than even Christmas day in Peru. Religion plays a major role, with “mise de gallo” (Rooster’s Mass) taking place at 10 PM. After Mass, families return to their homes to enjoy a large turkey dinner before exchanging gifts.
  • Decorations: Households opt to decorate for the holidays using the traditional retables instead of a Christmas tree. Retables is a form of folk art with paintings and wood carvings that depict religious events. Instead of reindeer decorations, you can find llamas and alpacas in front of Peruvian houses and on main streets.
  • A Foodies Dream: Peruvian food is considered one of the best cuisines in the world. Christmas is the perfect time for families to come together with a traditional roast turkey, apple sauce with a Peruvian twist, and dough tamales dipped in traditional homemade ají spicy sauce. To finish off the night, adults raise a cheer with Champagne while children drink hot chocolate made from scratch using rich dark chocolate.


Here’s our Peru-based team getting into their own style of celebrating:

Christmas team shot 2