Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day has been well. In honor of this special holiday, I thought I’d tell you what Christmas is like in Japan.
Is Christmas a religious holiday in Japan?
Only around 1% of Japan’s population are Christians, so they don’t celebrate Christmas like most Western countries do where Christianity is the primary religion. Around 40% of Japanese citizens do not practice a set religion, though the largest organized religion in Japan would be Buddhism, which 34% of the population practice.
Christmas is not considered a national holiday in Japan. It’s more of a commercialized holiday. Schools and businesses are usually open on December 25.
How do the Japanese celebrate Christmas?
Well Christmas (especially Christmas Eve) is seen as a romantic day. Often times couples will go out on romantic dates, viewing the pretty decorations, or eating a meal at a nice restaurant.
Some families put up Christmas trees in their homes, but most of the decorations outside are put out by major corporations. Families enjoy Christmas cake and children await Santa-san to bring them presents.
Kentucky for Christmas?
A tradition in Japan includes eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas. This all started in the ’70s when Japan first started looking at adopting some Western holidays. They found it hard to find turkey, so they though, “Well, why not KFC?”. In 1974, KFC started their Kentucky for Christmas promotion and reeled in the customers like crazy.
KFC is so popular for Christmas in Japan that sometimes people pre-order their chicken party buckets two months in advance.
Fried chicken is the true staple of a Japanese Christmas.