Christmas 1999

December 25, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On December 25, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the Southern California Vietnamese community, which is embracing the American Christmas celebrations. Many Vietnamese shops are decorated with Christmas trees, wreaths, and paper cutouts of Santa Claus. Westminster City Councilman Tony Lam, who came to the United States from Vietnam in the mid-1970s, stated: "Just because my family is not Christian, that doesn't make Christmas less meaningful. For Asians, festival time is important. There are messages there that are universal, and we just want to share the feelings of togetherness too." Janette Ong, a 24-year-old resident of Westminster, stated: "We will celebrate Christmas this year, with the tree and the decorations, but we will only eat Asian food." David Gibbons, the Korean American pastor of Newsong Community Church, spoke to the issue of the Asian-American experience: "Recent immigrants are just trying to make it, and they look for safety in their old traditions and their culture." Gibbons continued by stating that Asian-American children "don't have to find safety in the old generation's culture, and so they find those things in Christianity and...Christmas." The approximately 300,000 Vietnamese living in Southern California is the largest such community outside of Vietnam.