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Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan is quite diverse from the Chrismas celebrated in most countries in which the population has a large percentage of Christians or a Christian heritage. Only 1/2 of 1% of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, with the mainstream of Japanese being tolerant of all faiths: - Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto, etc. In spite of this, the Japanese are great lovers of festivals and celebrations, including Christmas.
 
December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan, although December 23rd, which is the birthdate of the present emperor, is. Although it is not an official holiday the Japanese tend to celebrate Christmas, especially in a commercial way. The Japanese celebrate Christmas Eve by eating a 'Christmas Cake' which the father of the family purchases on his way home from work. Stores carry versions of this Christmas cake and drop the price of it drastically on December 25th in order to sell everything out by the 26th.

This has resulted in a rather motivating expression in which young girls are referred to as a 'Christmas cakes': marriageable until their 25th birthday and requiring heavy discounts to get married after their 25th birthdays.

Xmas Holidays in Japan

Christmas in Japan is diverse from western countries like the Australia or USA. The major religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto, therefore Christmas is more commercial event. The main celebration revolves around Christmas Eve and not Christmas day.

In Japan it is common to give Christmas presents. Within the family parents give presents to their children, but the children do not give presents to the parents. The reasoning behind this is that only Santa bring presents, so once the children no longer believe in Santa the presents are no longer given. Most Japanese families would have a Christmas tree and now it is becoming very common to have lights on the outside of houses as you would see in the USA or Australia.