Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south.
Christmas Celebrations in Japan :
Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan as not many people there are Christians. Christmas was introduced in Japan by the Christian missionaries, and for many years the only people who celebrated it were those who had turned to the Christian faith. But now the Christmas season in Japan is full of meaning and is almost universally observed. Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan.
Even so, most Japanese people decorate their stores and homes with evergreens during Christmas. They enjoy giving each other gifts, and this is the part they celebrate. They have a Buddhist monk called Hotei-osho who acts like Santa Claus. He brings presents to each house and leaves them for the children. Some think he has eyes in the back of his head, so children try to behave like he is nearby. Among the Christian Japanese Christmas is not a day for the family. They do not have turkey or plum pudding, rather than that the day is spent doing nice things for others especially those who are sick in hospitals. Christmas for those in Sunday schools is the happiest day of the year. On Christmas Eve or Christmas night, the children put on programs that last for hours, they sing, they recite and they put on a drama of the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Most children may not like Hotei-osho so they may receive their presents from Santa also known as santa-san (Mr Santa) here, who goes around with a red-nosed reindeer.
Parties are often held for children, with games and dancing. Japanese Christmas Cake is a sponge cake decorated with trees, flowers and a figure of Santa Claus. In Japan Santa is known as . Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism and not really related to Christmas. Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas day. The traditional Japanese christmas food is christmas cake, but it’s not a rich fruit cake, but is usually a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream.
In Japanese Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Meri Kurisumasu’.
Christmas Celebrations are noticeable in some bigger cities of Japan like Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Saitama, Hiroshima, Sendai, Kitakyūshū, Chiba, Sakai, Niigata, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Sagamihara, Okayama, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, etc.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!