Christmas visit to the church of more than 120 years old of Chinese people in the Cho Lon area

Where to go this Christmas, what to eat? In addition to familiar places in the center of District 1 or Pham The Hien religious village  (District 8), an extremely interesting place not to be missed is the Cha Tam church of the Chinese people in the Cho Lon area.

Francis Xavier Parish Church, but the familiar name that people still use is Cha Tam Church, located at 25 Hoc Lac Street (Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City).

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The entrance to the church has Chinese architectural features
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The courtyard behind the entrance gate and in front of the church is the statue of Our Lady and the stele commemorating the martyrs
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The church is completing the final preparations for Christmas Eve December 24, 2022
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Cha Tam Church is also a destination for many international tourists

The interesting thing about this church in addition to its long history, the architecture also has the interference between the West and the East; especially the French and the Chinese. It is the unique culture of the church that has attracted many visitors.

In 1865, during the reign of Bishop Miche (Michael, 1865 – 1872), Father Philippe, priest of the Paris Missions Society of the Diocese of Canton, came to establish the first church for the Chinese in Cholon .

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The cultural features of the Chinese stand out through the double bowls in the center
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The final preparations are being completed for Christmas Eve
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Bright atmosphere on Christmas night

According to historical documents, in 1898, Bishop Jean Dépierre (De, 1895 – 1899), Bishop of Saigon, appointed Father Francis Xaviê Tam Assou, a man who is good at Chinese , who is serving as vice-father of Saigon Cathedral. concurrently a professor at Tabert School, entered Cho Lon with the task of reviving the religious life of the Chinese. During that time, Father Tam bought a very nice plot of land, about 3 acres wide in the center of Cho Lon, and on it he started to build a new church, that is, the church we are currently working on. have present. The first stone was laid on the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier, December 3, 1900. In 1934, Tam’s father died. Thus, if counted from the date of construction, this church has been more than 120 years old.

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The church has services in Chinese for the people of Cholon
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Brief history of Cho Lon sect
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Father Francis Xaviê Tam Assou (Father Tam), a man who knows many Chinese languages, started the construction of the church

Another interesting point is that every day the church has 2 Masses, one for Vietnamese and one for Chinese. On Sunday alone, there are 7 Masses, 4 for Vietnamese and 3 for Chinese , but there are still many Masses where the number of attendees is double the number of seats in the church.

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Church program in both Vietnamese and Chinese
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Behind the statue of Our Lady is a bas-relief in gratitude to the martyrs

In the atmosphere of Christmas Eve , after visiting Cha Tam Church, the typical Chinese dish that tourists should not miss is isle hot pot. The flickering coal fire beside the stove seemed to warm up family and friends relationships in the cold evening.

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Islet hot pot dish, a specialty of Chinese people in the Cho Lon area

Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)