The Consulate General of France opened its doors to welcome approximately 2,000 people attending the first European Christmas Market in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.
About 15 minutes before the opening time at 4:00 pm, a large crowd had already formed a line outside the French Consulate General at 6 Le Duan Boulevard in District 1, eager to participate in the inaugural Christmas Market.
The event, conceived by the Consulate General of Germany, in collaboration with the consulates of France, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands, was aimed at bringing the festive atmosphere of Christmas in Europe to Ho Chi Minh City.
Guests entering the French consulate did not need prior registration but they were required to purchase tickets at VND30,000 (US$1.24) each.
The event generated a total of VND150,000,000 ($6,180) in ticket revenue.
This amount will be divided equally among five charities operating in Vietnam: Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V., E-ducare, Ho Chi Minh City Heart Institute, Bà Chiểu Shelter, and Sống Foundation.
In her opening speech, Emmanuelle Pavillon Grosser, Consul General of France, emphasized the event's aim of sharing the Christmas spirit with the people of Vietnam.
"The event required coordination among the consulates, despite differences in language and culture," explained Grosser.
The diplomat told Tuoi Tre News that after reading an article in the newspaper, she personally visited the largest Christmas market in the city on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5) to shop for decorations for the event.
"It was my first time exploring such a Christmas market here,” she said.
“I found it challenging to choose a decoration because there were so many options.”
|From left: The consuls general of France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands. All five consuls general took turns saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in their own language. Photo: Hai Quynh / Tuoi Tre News
According to the organizers, this market had approximately 18 booths offering various souvenirs and foods from different countries.
The event also included a workshop on coffee brewing techniques.
Amidst the sounds of choirs, many people from various countries joined in singing Christmas songs.
Nguyen Thi Hang told Tuoi Tre News that she brought her two children to help them understand foreign cultures.
Duy, a resident of Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City and an alumnus of France, participated in the market to revisit some memories from her time in France.
Speaking to Tuoi Tre News, she noted that this market almost recreated the atmosphere of France.
"The only difference is that it's quite hot in Ho Chi Minh City, whereas it’s very cold in France,” Duy said.
“That's the only distinction.”
A special highlight of the event was the horse riding activity for children.
Three horses of different colors were available for children to ride, with tickets priced at VND50,000 ($2.06) for a three-minute experience.
This activity proved to be a favorite among the youngsters.