Japan’s no exception when it comes to celebrating Christmas, but there are some differences that will shake those of us familiar with the traditional meaning of Christmas. For starters, in Japan, Christmas doesn’t have the same Christian values as Western countries, but that isn’t too much of a surprise considering only less than 1% of the population are Christians. Despite religion being absent, it’s still a time for giving and loving.
Unlike most other countries, Christmas day isn’t a national holiday in Japan. Adults will still go to work and children attend school on the 25th. It’s not such a bad thing though because normally celebrations take place on Christmas eve. Friends and family will schedule dinner events and couples will wine and dine each other on Christmas eve.
In typical Japanese fashion, a great effort is made to illuminate neighbourhoods. Many people will take the time to stroll through the luminous wonderlands around Japan. Most popular areas in Tokyo like Roppongi Hills, Shinjuku and Ginza boast stunning Christmas lights for spectators to gaze upon.
Christmas has also evolved into a romantic occasion similar to Valentine’s day. It’s an important day for couples to spend time with each other in an extravagant way. Many popular restaurants will be booked well in advance by couples and lovebirds will often spoil each other with luxurious gifts. It’s common that a date on Christmas will involve basking in the luminous decorations in major cities.
Giving presents is just as common between the Japanese as it is in anywhere else. Gifts are given between families, couples and close friends. Children of course love getting presents and Santa Clause is a major icon to them.
It’s tradition for people to eat a special Christmas sponge cake that’s artistically decorated with whipped cream and strawberries. It’s so popular to have this cake during Christmas that you can see it sold on almost every corner. It’s normally given as an additional gift or added into the Christmas feast menu. For families it’s a tradition that fathers bring home the cake on Christmas eve.
You won’t find much ham or turkey in a Japanese Christmas dinner. Instead, it’s hugely common to have fried chicken as the centrepiece of a Christmas feast. Many restaurants sell “Christmas chicken specials” but KFC is easily the most popular place to buy from. Many people will pre-order their chicken buckets days’ before Christmas. else they’ll be waiting hours before getting their order.
The tradition of having KFC for Christmas came from a very successful marketing campaign in the 1970’s. After some clever advertising a misconception was born that chicken was part of a traditional Western Christmas meal. Since then it’s been part of many Christmas dinners and many places offer a Christmas deal on fried chicken
If you plan on spending Christmas in Japan, you can rest assured that there is a great atmosphere for you to enjoy. The streets are lit up, people are cheerful and couples are in love. As materialistic as it is – gifts are a big tradition during the festive season and who doesn’t love receiving a present. We’re sure your cherished ones will love one of our beautiful Japanese products you can find in our store.