A Japanese Christmas
A CHRISTMAS IN JAPAN
One of the many culture clubs here at Columbus High School is Japanese Club. In this club students meet together once a month to learn about the different aspects of japanese culture like their holidays and celebrations.
The notable highlight of their December meeting was Christmas and the significance it carries in Japan. It makes for an interesting eye opener and it expands your horizons to develop an appreciation for other cultures' traditions.
In the club meeting the students learned about the history of Christmas in Japan and how it spread there. Christianity was originally brought over by Christian missionaries from overseas.
Originally the practice of Christianity was banned before it became accepted as a minor religious practice. Even after its acceptance Christmas wasn’t really considered a national holiday and still isn’t today. As a result, most businesses are still running on Christmas and most people still have to go to work. So because of this Christmas Eve is celebrated more than Christmas Day.
Speaking of celebration, Christmas traditions in Japan are very different than the ones in America. In America, it’s common to sit down at a table and eat a big dinner with your family, but in Japan the holiday food is actually Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In 1974, KFC made a huge marketing advance with their advertisement “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii” which translates to “Kentucky for Christmas”. Your average japanese citizen would likely have to order weeks in advance or wait hours in line to get your bucket of chicken come December. If you’re not celebrating with your family and KFC then you’re likely celebrating it with your date at a fancy restaurant. Where as in the United States, Christmas is treated as a religious holiday, in Japan it is moreso a commercial holiday to spend with your significant other.
Another prominent food comes Christmas time is Christmas cake. This holiday treat (as opposed to the fruit cake in America) is a sponge cake covered in whipped cream and topped with strawberries.
Another interesting thing that we got to see was Tokyo Disney. As we watched the Christmas parade go during the presentation we ate curry made by Mrs.Schmitz the school’s Japanese class teacher and supervisor of Japanese club. To close the meeting off on a positive note the japanese club staff hosted a raffle in which random club members would win small goodie bags of candy. It was a sweet way to end our meeting and a wonderful way to start the weekend.