How is X-mas celebrated in your country?

27 Dec

Christmas isn’t nearly as big of a holiday in Japan as it is in western countries.
In Japan, New Years is the biggest holiday.

In Japan, Xmas is a regular workday and many people don’t even bother to celebrate it at all.
Generally speaking, X-mas Eve is considered a romantic evening for couples to go on a date…often to a place with X-mas Illumination, and either on X-mas Eve or X-mas Day families eat a Christmas dinner (often of Kentucky Fried Chicken).
Champagne and “Christmas cake” are popular parts of a X-mas dinner in Japan too.

Japanese X-mas cake (from "Fujiya")

To give you an idea of how X-mas is spent in Japan, some statistics from a poll taken by monitoring group conducting a poll of Japanese people (the respondents were a ratio of 50:50 male:female and between the ages of 20-60):

  • How do you spend Christmas?
    – Relax at home 45%
    – Nothing special 19%
    – Party at home 17%
    – Go on a date 10%
    – Go drinking 5%
    – Take a trip 4%

  • Who do you spend X-mas with?
    – Family 64%
    – Boyfriend / girlfriend 11%
    – Undecided 11%
    – Alone 8%
    – Friends 5%
    – Other 1%

  • What will you eat on X-mas? (multiple answers OK)
    – Christmas cake 61%
    – Roast chicken 53%
    – Fried chicken 47%
    – Pizza 39%
    – Salad 35%
    – Sushi 25%

  • What will you drink on X-mas? (multiple answers OK)
    – Beer 44%
    – Champagne 43%
    – Wine 36%
    – Other 29%

How important is Christmas in your country? What is your country’s biggest holiday?
How is X-mas celebrated in your country?

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16 Responses to “How is X-mas celebrated in your country?”

  1. Dan Elvins December 31, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    >Does the Queen of England give a speech on X-mas? What does she talk about usually?

    I’ve never actually watched it myself, probably never will, but I think she just talks about the things the country has been through (a few years ago it was about the terrorist bombings), I read in the paper that this year she is going to speak about the Olympics (not sure if she did though), or sports in general at some point.

    Its true, very few children attend midnight mass, also most actual religious people don’t particularly believe in father christmas, thats more of a commercial thing for the non religious i guess.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 31, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

      >thats more of a commercial thing for the non religious

      I suppose it’s the same way in America. But it’s been over twenty years since I’ve been in America for X-mas…so I guess I’m used to Japanese style. Religion doesn’t factor into the lives of almost anyone here.

      Like

  2. Tom Webster December 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    >I thought kids had to be in bed by midnight on X-mas Eve or else “Santa” won’t visit.

    You wouldn’t typically see many children at midnight night mass and less and less people attend in general these days.

    Don’t forget the Queen’s Speech on Christmas itself….

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

      >Don’t forget the Queen’s Speech on Christmas itself….

      Does the Queen of England give a speech on X-mas? What does she talk about usually?

      The Japanese Emperor gives a speech to the public two days before X-mas…but that’s because December 23rd is his birthday.

      Like

  3. Dan Elvins December 30, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    >They go to church at midnight? Why so late? Is there some significance with midnight?

    Well i guess its probably because jesus was born on the 24th at midnight, so thats when it officially starts, I guess thats what its for. (I’m not religious)

    >Fireworks at New Years? Never in Japan. Here, fireworks are a summertime tradition.

    Fireworks in the United Kingdon happen a fair bit in winter, we have them for a few Parades in London (London specific festivals like the mayors day or something like that) they also happen on guy fawks night (another England specific holiday).

    >Do they give unwrapped X-mas presents?

    They give presents in bags, for example, you go to a shop say Marks and Spencers (a british shop) and you buy something in a gift bag, gift bags are often quite fancy and sometimes have bows too.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

      >Well i guess its probably because jesus was born on the 24th at midnight

      I thought kids had to be in bed by midnight on X-mas Eve or else “Santa” won’t visit.

      >They give presents in …gift bags

      Stores in Japan have those too. And most stores here offer free gift wrapping too (at any time of the year).

      Like

  4. Dan Elvins December 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Christmas in the UK is pretty similar to how it is in the US, although I personally don’t particularly celebrate Christmas I do visit family and have a roasted dinner (pretty typical).

    Many people in the UK do midnight mass in churches, but im not sure exactly what happens as I’ve never been to mass before.

    New years is very much seen as a time for adults to go out drinking, more so if you don’t have children, some families stay home and do firework shows, and there are also public firework shows., I think new years is very similar in much of Europe, however Christmas differs slightly.

    Christmas Tree’s in the UK traditionally go up 12 days before christmas and are removed 12 days afterwards, the same with decorations such as christmas lights.

    My girlfriend is Polish and they celebrate christmas on the 24th, and unlike the UK they don’t “wrap” presents in wrapping paper, and they also have Fish for Christmas dinner instead of chicken,turkey of beef, many people go to church due to Poland being a strong Catholic country (87% in a 2007 survey, though this probably dropped a few % by now.).

    Many of my Japanese friends often gather together and travel to onsen around new years/Christmas if they are unable to visit family, is this common at all?

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 30, 2010 at 12:20 am #

      >I do visit family and have a roasted dinner (pretty typical).

      It’s common in Japan too.

      >Many people in the UK do midnight mass in churches

      They go to church at midnight? Why so late? Is there some significance with midnight?

      >New years is very much seen as a time for adults to go out drinking

      Everyone drinks on New Years day in Japan…but together with relatives while having a traditional Japanese New Years dinner.

      >firework shows.

      Fireworks at New Years? Never in Japan. Here, fireworks are a summertime tradition.

      >they (Polish people) don’t “wrap” presents

      Do they give unwrapped X-mas presents?

      >Many of my Japanese friends often gather together and travel to onsen around new years/Christmas…is this common at all?

      I wouldn’t say “common”. It’s not a tradition. But some people do.

      Like

  5. Tom Webster December 28, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    Yeah we would put a christmas tree up about 2 weeks before christmas and it will stay up until epiphany on January 6th

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 29, 2010 at 2:34 am #

      So you have the tree up for nearly a full month?

      Like

  6. paorin December 28, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    In Poland Christmas is the most important holiday along with Easter, since it’s majority of its inhabitants is Christian. On Chrismast Eve, we start a big dinner when the first star appears in the sky. Before we start eating though, we pray, read the Bible outload and sing Christmas songs. We also eat an exclusively Polish thing called “opłatek” (pronounced something like オプワテック), which is actually some kind of bread despite not looking like one. Anyways, while sharing it, we wish other members of the family to be healthy, for their dreams to come true etc. Then we eat dinner, which traditionally is supposed to consist of 12 dishes. Some of them are borscht, herring covered in vinegar and/or oil, noodles with poppy seeds, lettuce with oil, grilled carp, fruit soup. There’s never any meat and alcohol. Oh, and there’s always one empty on the table, that is for an unexpected guest, a deceased relative or a relative who should be there, but isn’t for some reason. After the dinner’s finished the kids are allowed to open their gifts, which are obviously placed uner the Christmas Tree. On the First and Second Day of Christmas we just either enjoy our free time at home or go and visit our relatives.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 29, 2010 at 2:33 am #

      Sounds so different compared to X-mas in Japan.

      >There’s never any meat and alcohol.

      That’s too bad. 😉

      >the First and Second Day of Christmas

      What do you mean?

      Like

  7. Blue Shoe December 28, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    I’m a little surprised by that survey. I would have expected more respondents to spend Christmas with their significant other.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 29, 2010 at 2:29 am #

      Well, the respondents were between the ages of 20 – 60…so most were probably married with children and therefore spent X-mas with “family” rather than “boyfriend / girlfriend”.

      Like

  8. Tom Webster December 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Christmas is pretty much the main holiday here, New Years Eve is a great night for a party but a lot of people wouldn’t do anything particularly special for it.

    Like

    • tokyo5 December 27, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

      I’m not surprised that X-mas and New Years are similar in England as in America.

      Japanese New Years has a many similarities to X-mas in the West…New Years cards (a bit like X-mas cards) are sent to friends and relatives, almost no one has to work, people travel back to their hometown to be with family (if they no longer live there), families gather and have a big traditional dinner, children receive gifts from relatives (money), etc.

      Of course, New Years here is done very “Japanese” and in that way it’s completely different from the West.

      Do you put up a X-mas tree in your house every year? Almost no one does that here.

      Like

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