A different Christmas for the less-privileged
  • | | December 23, 2009 09:34 PM

During the Christmas season, many people spend time celebrating and buying gifts, but parishioners in Hai Ly keep busy working for a living.

Visiting Hai Ly (Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh) several days prior to Christmas, at a time where churches have been decorated beautifully with ornaments, Christmas trees, sparkling stars, caves and other decorations, the Christmas spirit is quite alive in the area. In contrast, I saw parishioners working hard in salt fields until the end of the day.

Christmas is a time for happiness and celebration for all Hai Ly people and is particularly holy for parishioners here.

Hoa Dinh parishioners busy decorating the Christmas Evening stage


90 percent of the Hai Ly population is Catholic. Many people make salt for a living. Bad weather makes them worried. On rainy days, each family earns only about VND20,000 ($1.2)

Xuong Dien Catholic church is decorated with a fake cave at the main gate


There are 2 or 3 churches in Hai Ly and neighbouring areas

Many families have fake caves in front of their homes

Parishioners working hard in salt fields

A little girl forced to go to the salt fields with her mother because nobody can look after her

When the sun stops shining, salt workers go to the churches

Afternoon prayers before Christmas at Xuong Dien Church

A Catholic completing decorations for the cave in front of Xuong Dien Church

Decorations meant to welcome Christmas Eve

A disappointing day for harvesting due to the bad weather