Illustration by Trịnh LậpViet Nam News by Mary Pecaut I first set foot in Việt Nam in 2014. As a US citizen embarrassed by my country’s policies during and following the American-Việt Nam War, I was uncertain about the welcome that awaited me. Because I spoke French and had family members living in Toronto, I prepared to answer that certain-to-be-asked question: Where are you from? By replying, Canada. I was pleasantly surprised to find that US citizens are very welcome in Việt Nam and that there was no need to hide my identity. Upon arrival, I started my quest to understand my new home country and her people. Usually when I arrive in a newly assigned country, I dive into the local culture through food, art and language. I soon discovered that the best window into Vietnamese culture was by understanding a unique Vietnamese national holiday. Tết Nguyên Đán, otherwise known as Tết, is the most important and popular … [Read more...] about Can a holiday explain a national identity?
Festive season greetings messages
Pilgrims from across the world gathered in Bethlehem on Monday for Christmas Eve, queueing to see the grotto where Jesus is believed to have been born and taking in a festive parade. Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa greets a crowd as he arrives in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 24, 2018 Midnight mass was to be held in Bethlehem later, while Pope Francis was also due to hold mass at the Vatican as Christians celebrate the traditional day of Jesus's birth after a tumultuous year. Much of that tumult has come from Washington, and the festive spirit was dampened there as the national Christmas tree went dark on the third day of a US government shutdown. The US National Park Service said that it would remain unlit and closed to the public "until further notice," with checks being made for damage following an attempt by an intruder on Friday to climb the tree. The tree, whose spectacular lights were switched on at a ceremony attended by US President … [Read more...] about Pilgrims gather in Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas Eve