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Does Vietnam Celebrate Halloween? Posted by on Oct 25, 2021 in Culture, Events, Vocabulary

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Influenced by văn hóa Tây phương (Western culture), the Vietnamese are starting to get more familiar with major western “commercial” holidays, including Halloween. Thus, in recent years, the lễ hội (festival) Halloween has become more popular in major metropolitan and tourist areas, especially among young people. People pour onto certain designated streets or entertainment venues in Halloween make-up and costumes to have fun.

You may wonder what is “Halloween” called in Vietnamese? “Halloween”, or lễ hội hóa trang (masquerade festival) or lễ hội ma quỷ (ghost festival), is a cognate and the same word has the same meaning in Vietnamese. Below are terms that are commonly used in Halloween.

COMMONLY USED TERMS

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ENGLISH VIETNAMESE
Jack-o-Lantern Đèn bí ngô
Pumpkin Bí ngô
Skeleton Xương người
Skull Đầu lâu
Haystack Bó cỏ khô
Haunted House Nhà ma ám
Owl Con chim cú
Bat Con dơi
Black cat Con mèo đen
Costumes Trang phục hóa trang
Scarecrow Người nộm
Spiderweb Mạng nhện
Mask Mặt nạ
Zombie Thây ma
Witch Phù Thủy
Monster Quái vật
Devil Ác quỷ
Mummy Xác ướp
Vampire Ma-cà-rồng
Coffin Quan tài
Tombstone Bia mộ
Candy Kẹo
Broom Cây chổi

HALLOWEEN VENUES

Want to observe some spirits during Halloween eve in Vietnam? Try these venues but beware, they are packed with people!

If you are in Saigon:

  • Phố Tây district (Bùi Viện & Đề Thám streets)
  • Nguyễn Huệ street
  • Đầm Sen Cultural Park
  • Lê Thi Riêng Park
  • Văn Thánh Park
  • Phú Mỹ Hưng Urban areas

If you are in Hanoi:

  • Phố Hàng Mã
  • Hồ Tây (West Lake) Park

You can also find plenty of interesting Halloween activities in the coffee shops and big hotels.

Time has changed so many things. In the 1990s, when Vietnam just started opening to the world and changed its political and economic direction, people there had no concept of Western holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Valentine’s Day.  Within just a few decades, the country has prospered and the young Vietnamese generation has learned and adapted quickly to văn hóa Tây phương (Western culture). Because of COVID-19, the Halloween celebrations this year probably were scaled back a lot. However, I’m sure there are plenty of underground private Halloween parties out there.

Halloween is coming in less than a week. Bạn có dự định gì cho Halloween? (What is your plan for Halloween?) What kind of trang phục hóa trang (costumes) or characters will you dress as this year for yourself or your children? It’s a good time to have a ghost tour or visit some haunted houses in the old South 😊

As for me, I don’t like scary things. I wouldn’t dress up as a thây ma (zombie) or quái vật (monster). I want to be a pretty tiên nữ (fairy) or nữ thần (Goddess). I would have an ác mộng (nightmare) if I even had decorations like a đầu lâu (skull) or bộ xương người (skeleton) in the house. Therefore, I only have bí ngô (pumpkin) and người nộm (scarecrow) by my door entrance. 

Mong các linh hồn và phù thủy mang đến những điều bạn mong muốn! (May the spirits and witches grant all your wishes!).

Chúc mừng ngày Halloween! (Happy Halloween!)

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