A Japanese Christmas
Josh Bishop, Nicholas Manning, Te'vasia Mercer
· Wham – Last Christmas: This song is one of the most popular Christmas songs in Japan and is performed by a Japanese group named Exile. This song is not only played in commercials, but also along the streets of major cities and on the radio.
· Tatsuro Yamashita: In 1988, JR Railways published this and is widely used in commercials around Christmas time. This holiday is more commercialized than celebrated so this song is extremely popular in Japan. It was introduced in America in 1984 but couldn’t find success so JR Railways kept it alive in Japan.
- Eating a Christmas Cake, which is usually purchased by the father on his way home from work (or the wife if he does not have to work) on Christmas Eve, where they will eat on Christmas Day.
- The story of Jesus being born is told during the holiday
- Hoteiosho is the Japanese “Santa Claus”
- Houses decorated with evergreens and mistletoes
- In some homes, carols are happily played
- Fennel Gratin with Pecorino and Lemon
- Turnip-Parsnip Gratin
- Crabmeat Ravioli with Clam Sauce
Gift Giving in Japan around Christmas Time
Christmas eve is thought of as a romantic day, in which couples spend together and exchange presents.
Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism and not really related to Christmas.
Gift giving is particularly interesting in that even though urban-based Japanese are known to be steady consumers of modern delights, they enjoy buying "cute" gifts such as teddy bears and other stuffed items. Scarves, flowers, and jewelry are other common gifts.
Oseibo gifts are intended to be an expression of thanks to someone who has shown you kindness during the year.
December in Japan is usually fairly dry and is great for traveling conditions. The only issue about traveling to Japan at this time is the days in Japan are extremely short as the sunset is at about 4:30 and there is barely any grown vegetation because of the dryness that the country is in. Ski season starts in December as well so they do get some snow and that draws in a lot of tourists.
Religious Christmas Traditions
Since only “1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian”, there is hardly any religious-related traditions that take place.
Christmas eve is often celebrated more than Christmas Day. Christmas eve is thought of as a romantic day, in which couples spend together and exchange presents. In many ways it resembles Valentine's Day celebrations in the UK and the USA.
Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, so schools and businesses are normally open on December 25th
On New Year's Eve the houses are cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom, and are decorated for the morrow. when everything has been made clean and neat the people of the house dress themselves in their finest clothes. Then the father of the household marches through the house, followed by all the family, and drives the evil spirits out. He throws dried beans into every corner bidding the evil spirits withdraw and good luck enter.