Christmas in Japan
By Casey Kuster
In Japan, Christmas isn't very different from ours. The only problem is that only around 1% of all Japanese people are Christians. Buddhism is the main religion there. But despite that, everyone celebrates Christmas.
Christmas is believed to be the time of year in Japan where Romance is all around! It is the time of year to be close to your wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend.
Christmas is also known as the time of Happiness in Japan. It is a time when families get together and dress up, ready to open presents and await for the Japanese Santa Claus, called 'Santa Kuroshu.'
Santa Kuroshu is a Buddhist monk, who has eyes on the back of his head, so he can watch all children and make sure no one misbehaves. Santa Kuroshu is an elderly man who carries a sack around his shoulder and walks to each home, instead of flying.
One of the customs that Japanese people have for the Christmas season, are Christmas Cakes. They are often made out of Strawberries, Cream and Bread. Bakeries often have them in their front windows, allowing everyone to see the beautiful and delicious cakes. They think it's strange that Americans don't have Christmas cakes.
Food that is eaten during Holiday season in Japan is very unusual. They often have Turkey or Chicken, thus causing it to be the busiest time of year at KFC and other places that sell Chicken or Turkey!
One custom they do share with us Americans, are decorating Christmas trees. But in Japan, trees were hard to come by. It wasn't until recently that they began to decorate trees every year. For ornaments, Japanese men, women and children decorate the tree with small toys and dolls, gold paper fans, lanterns, and wind chimes. The most popular ornament is an 'Origami Swan.' Christmas trees are also put up in hospitals the help drive the spirits away from sick people.
They also put up Evergreen and Mistletoe. They are hung on the ceiling. Tinsels and lights are hung in dance halls, cafes and pinball parlors (Which is where a lot of people go to during the Holiday season).
Another custom is for Japanese people to sing Christmas carols. They sing the same ones Americans do. But the most popular song is Silent Night, sung in English. Another popular song is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which isn't really a Christmas song at all!
The Nativity story about Jesus's Birth is very fascinating to little girls in Japan, mainly because most Japanese girls love anything to do with babies! One scene in the Nativity story is very familiar to the Japanese and that is when Jesus is placed in the cradle. That's because Japanese babies don't sleep in cradles.
((Ehehe..still working on it a bit..))