The Christmas traditions of Japan are Christian traditions without its religious matrix as practiced in a country where only one per cent of its population are Christians. Nevertheless, the Japanese as a whole celebrate Xmas with curious vigor that can rival those of believers. In Japan, you will find all the universal symbols representing Xmas filling not only the homes but even the communities. The Japanese industry provided the Christian nations with supplies of Holiday decorations, toys and trinkets. The Japanese community later absorbed these practices.
The decorations of the Christmas traditions of Japan include all the elements. The Nativity scene is given a corner in every house. They also have turkey for Christmas dinner, Christmas trees, evergreens and mistletoe in their stores and homes and even Hoeiosho, the Japanese equivalent of Santa Claus, who is a Buddhist monk who bears gifts for the children. The family members exchange gifts and send cards with the true heart of giving. It is still undeniable that Christmas traditions of Japan is a time to spread happiness and romance. In this sense, the celebration is able to fulfill part of its purpose, even if the cynic and the traditionalist or conservative would say that it is due to commercialism.
The Christmas traditions of Japan for the Japanese Christians is spent for worship and charity for the poor and sick. The children perform plays re-enacting the Nativity scene on Xmas Eve.
What may be considered as the unique Christmas traditions of Japan are Christmas Cakes, Fried Chicken, and Daiku. The cake usually is a decorated sponge cake with miniature figures of trees, flowers, and Santa Claus. Fried chicken has become the traditional meal while the Daiku, which is the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, the favorite music of the season.
Meanwhile, the only cultural or public celebration of the season and the most important in the year is the New Year’s Day. The houses are cleaned and decorated and the family goes around the house to drive evil spirits out and draw in good luck in a manner probably influence by the Chinese. This day seems to be the truly Christmas traditions of Japan.