Christmas in Saigon, from La Revue du Pacifique, 15 January 1935


This year in Saigon, the Christmas celebrations were exceptionally brilliant.

Many people came from every province to celebrate the festivities in this city, which is known universally as the “Pearl of the Far East.” In the animated streets, French and Cochinchinois came together and headed towards the many places of distraction.

After midnight mass, they all gathered around the tables of the great restaurants and dance halls of the city, where couples danced wildly until morning, waltzing to the sweet intoxication of the finest champagne.

The poor and the unemployed were not forgotten. At a gala evening honoured by the presence of the Governor-General and Secretary-General Y. C. Chatel, many Christmas trees were installed so that poor children could come and choose their favorite toys.

All these events had the effect of creating a great bustle of activity in all the shops of Saigon, which in recent days saw many customers coming in to buy traditional gifts.


Tim Doling is the author of the walking tour guidebook Exploring Hồ Chí Minh City (Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2014).

A full index of all Tim’s blog articles since November 2013 is now available here.

Join the Facebook group pages Saigon-Chợ Lớn Then & Now and Huế Then & Now to see historic photographs juxtaposed with new ones taken in the same locations, and Đài Quan sát Di sản Sài Gòn – Saigon Heritage Observatory for up-to-date information on conservation issues in Saigon and Chợ Lớn.

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