Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Spending Christmas in Japan

Ahhhh I can’t believe it’s already Christmas!? December went by so quickly! Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas is celebrated a lot differently here than what I’m used to in Canada. Since Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, if Christmas lands on a weekday most of us end up spending it at work. Yay. ^^;

Due to the lack of turkey here, the “traditional” Japanese Christmas feast is fried chicken, and KFC has become a symbol of Christmas in Japan with many families ordering the special party buckets for their Christmas dinner. Christmas cake is also done a little differently here. A usual Christmas cake will be a white sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. No pumpkin pie in sight.  

Some Christmas customs have made their way to Japan, such as gift giving, however it’s done a little differently here. You could say that Christmas in Japan is like another Valentine’s Day. Christmas is a time for couples here, not family like in the West. Christmas Eve is often spent with your boyfriend or girlfriend enjoying some of the beautiful light displays that you can find all over Japan throughout the winter season. Christmas presents are generally only given to your significant other, and not your friends or family. (Edit: My Japanese friend told me that many parents will give their child one Christmas present!) But children don't seem to buy any presents for their parents or relatives.

Wait, so you mean children in Japan don’t get to experience the awesomeness that is Christmas morning!? Well, technically, no. But Japanese New Year’s or “oshogatsu” is similar to a Western Christmas. During oshogatsu families get together, enjoy a large feast, exchange greeting cards, and children are given large amounts of money from their relatives in little envelopes (this is known as otoshidama). So don’t worry, Japanese children also have their own special holiday to look forward to ^^

Hope you guys are enjoying your winter holidays! <3