Here in the US, Christmas has a very religious background in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is the designated holiday where schools and many businesses shut down. So what does all of this have to do with Japan?
As we saw with Halloween, some of the holiday’s special activities and customs became very popular with the Japanese. Even without the religious tie-in. Some traditions were born in Japan.
Like everywhere else Christmas is celebrated, the illuminations are a big thing. Malls, public parks and even landmarks have different and beautiful displays of lights. They are so big in Japan, there are events to go see them!
Christmas markets are a fun shopping experience for getting gifts for those you love. Many businesses bring their wares of all types. There is a gift for everyone.
However, since Christmas is not originally celebrated in Japan, gift exchanges are not really done specifically for the holiday. That’s really done for the New Year which is an even bigger celebration. In the workplace, the Japanese do what’s called Oseibo, in which coworkers can exchange gifts with each other.
Instead of the special Christmas meal in which families make from scratch here, you will see most Japanese getting Christmas fried chicken from KFC. It’s been a staple tradition since the 70s!
For dessert, friends and family share what’s known as a Christmas Cake. It’s usually a Japanese strawberry shortcake with whipped cream filling and frosting.
The holiday is also like a second Valentine’s Day for couples. It’s a popular one to go out for dinner so most places get filled fast.
Speaking of going on dates, besides couples in love, everyone loves to head over to Tokyo Disney for their annual Christmas parade and festivities. There are tons of costumed people, jolly music and themed treats!