Fundoo Times
Christmas in Japan is celebrated with zest. Japanese are keenly adopting the Western customs for celebrating Christmas in Japan.

Christmas in Japan

Christmas was introduced in Japan by Christian missionaries many centuries ago. The festival became popular in Japan at the beginning of 20th century. It is not a national holiday for celebrating Christmas in Japan. However, more and more Japanese are keenly adopting the Western customs for celebrating Christmas in Japan. They decorate their homes, exchange gifts with family and friends, and celebrate the festival with a special meal. Over the years, Christmas has proved to be something special for the Japanese.

Christmas celebrations in Japan begin a week prior to the festival. Christmas trees, Santa Claus and other seasonal decorative items are vividly displayed in the retail stores and shopping malls of the country. Many streets of Japan are illuminated with fascinating lighting arrangements during the festive season. Homes, pin ball parlors, cafes and dance halls in the country are decorated with tinsel lights during Christmas. Hospitals are decorated with trees to perk up the spirits of the sick. Mistletoe trees are beautifully decorated in many places of the country. Origami swan is widely used to decorate the 'community trees'.

Two special Japanese customs are related to the celebration of Christmas. The first one is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony which is termed as 'Daiku' in Japan. It is performed in many regions during Christmas celebrations in Japans. The second one is Christmas cake, which is the traditional Christmas food for the Japanese. Christmas cakes in Japan are generally made up of sponge cake, whipped cream or fresh strawberries.

The perception about Santa Claus in Japan is really interesting. In the country, Santa Claus is called as 'Santa Kurohsu'. People in Japan believe that Santa Kurohsu has eyes in the back so that he can watch the beloved children all through the year. There is a priest known as 'Hoteiosho' in Japan who closely resembles Santa Claus. He is believed to be an old man who carries a huge sack. Christmas and Christianity is very much respected in Japan. But, the religious roots of the festival are hardly known to the Japanese. No wonder why- Christians in Japan make up only 1 % of its total population.