Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Japan

Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday, less than 1 percent of Japanese are Christian. This is why Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan. Just because the Japanese aren’t Christian and likely do not know what Christmas stands for it is still celebrated in Japan. In Japan, Christmas Eve is celebrated more than the Christmas Day. A tradition for Christmas Eve in Japan is for young men to give their girlfriends gifts like jewelry, take them out to eat at a restaurant, and maybe a night at a hotel.

The Japanese do decorate using Christmas things like Christmas trees, lights, and Santa Claus. Though most of the decorating is done by businesses, who very much would like that people celebrate Christmas like it is done in the United States. Christmas cards are given out by some people but not red ones; red cards are used to print funeral notices.

Gifts are given to children if the child still believes in Santa Claus. Children generally do not give presents to parents, since Santa only gives gifts to Children. Santa is called Santa Claus or Santa no ojisan (uncle Santa).

Common foods eaten on Christmas are Christmas cakes. Which are a sponge cake and look like miniature birthday cakes with Christmas designs (things like Santa Claus being on them). It is possible that this started out having something to do with Christmas day being Christ’s Birthday, but as far as I know it is unknown if that is the case. Cake shops throughout Japan always try to sell all their Christmas cakes before Christmas Eve. Any cakes left after Christmas are seen to be very old or out of date. Women over 25 years old used to be called:unsold Christmas Cake. This saying is becoming less common.

Thanks to heavy advertising by Kentucky Fried Chicken; chicken thighs and legs are commonly eaten on Christmas in Japan. Another popular food eaten on Christmas in Japan is pizza.

Like in the United States, the Japanese also have Christmas specials for example there is a Ranma Christmas episode, a Love Hina one, and a Your Under Arrest one, etc.

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