Many Christmas in Japan traditions exist, and they are celebrated throughout much of that country. Here are a few examples of Japanese culture at work.

Christmas Greetings:

Christmas in Japan Traditions

photo by Danny Choo

Christmas Greetings are large aspects of the Japanese culture. Here are a few different forms of traditional Japanese Christmas greetings:

  • Merry Christmas:
    • A popular Christmas greeting, at least for those who celebrate Christmas in Japan, is “Meri Kurisumasu,” which means Merry Christmas. This is what they wish each other on Christmas Eve, which is when the people of Japan celebrate Christmas, instead of on December 25th.
  • Different Ways to say Happy New Year:
    • Of course, how we wish each other a happy new year around Christmas time also differs for the Japanese. There are a few different ways to wish someone a happy new year in Japan. You could say, “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu,” or some other form of popular greeting.

Christmas Gifts

Christmas in Japan Traditions 2

photo by jewell willett

Another popular tradition among a variety of cultures is the giving of xmas gifts. Japan is no exception to this famous tradition either. Here is how they do things in Japan:

  • Receiving the Presents:
    • Christmas presents are not necessarily given by family members. In America, we believe in Santa Clause, who gives the children presents. In Japan, Santa is known as “Hotei-osho,” who is basically a Buddhist monk equal to Santa.
  • Presents for Loved Ones:
    • If a couple is together, the man typically buys the woman in his life something romantic like a teddy bear, flowers, a scarf, a ring, or other types of jewelry. Friends also exchange greeting cards during Christmas.

Christmas Cards

People do give each other Christmas cards in Japan, although these are mostly exchanged among friends. Typical Christmas card messages consist of things like Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and other elements of that nature. They are quite similar to American Christmas cards.

Christmas Symbols

Christmas in Japan Traditions 3

photo by durian

Perhaps the most important Christmas symbol is Hotei-Osho, the Japanese Equivalent of Santa Clause. However, there are a few other Christmas symbols that hold meaning to the Japanese people around Christmas time:

  • Artificial Christmas Trees:
    • For decoration, the Japanese also put an artificial Christmas tree in their home to add a festive element to the season.
  • Nativity:
    • For people who believe in Jesus, the Japanese do tell the story of the Nativity. This is widely recognized, at least by some people, just like in America.

Christmas in Japan traditions are an important part of the holiday season, and are very similar to the Christmas traditions celebrated in all parts of the world.
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Related posts:

  1. Christmas Greetings – Christmas Card Sayings
  2. Do You Hear the Christmas Bells?
  3. Christmas Card Messages

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