April 2024
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A Christmas Carol – 1963

Caroling was a big event on Christmas Eve for a lot of the ACHS kids. We met at the Kinh Do and then hopped on buses. I have forgotten where all we went ( I was reminded recently that in 1962 we went to the ambassador’s house and he invited us in to sing while he played the piano. I believe General Harkins and Cardinal Spellman were there also)….but we did stop at the circle in front of the Rex to sing once during that evening.

The intersecting streets that come into that circle were actually very wide boulevards with “islands” planted with shrubs and tall shade trees. These islands were swarming with street vendors selling food and a wild assortment of cheap plastic toy items, festive party hats, balloons, sparklers, small firecrackers, and the chinese lantern type decorations used so much during Tet. The sidewalks were jammed and people spilled into the street. Taxis, cyclos, pedicabs, bicycles, motorbikes, and a few cars kept trying to creep through all this. Finally, the police stopped all vehicular traffic and let the pedestrians take the streets as well as the sidewalks.

The army had big gas filled balloons floating over the fountain and streamers carrying Vietnamese words. The balloons were tied down to the circle in some fashion. People who had been in Saigon in previous years said that they had not seen such a crowd in town on Christmas Eve before. Possibly Diem would not allow that. The Catholic Cathedral was ablaze with lights as they would be having a midnight mass.

My second and my last Christmas in Saigon.


1 comment to A Christmas Carol – 1963

  • Admin

    Gee, Alice … by the title of your post, I thought you were going to sing Christmas carols for us … LOL … 🙂

    Thank you for a wonderful post about Christmas in Saigon.

    The activities at the fountain circle are still pretty much like that today … crowds, lights, music, balloons … and lots of happy celebrating people … all “in the Spirit” … 🙂

    Happy Holidays!

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