CHRISTMAS & New Year Traditions in Japan 2017

CHRISTMAS & New Year Traditions in Japan:

A tradition is a specific practice of long standing in which unwritten customs and practices are passed from one generation to the next. Traditions and customs form part of a country’s culture and heritage. The following information provides some fast, interesting facts about customs and CHRISTMAS traditions in Japan:

  • The non-religious celebration of CHRISTMAS is popular in Japan, although CHRISTMAS is not a national holiday
  • The name for Santa Claus is Santa-san (meaning Mr. Santa)
  • Japanese children look forward to O-toshidama when they are given gifts of small envelopes containing money – just like our Western traditions only good children will receive these envelopes!
  • After breakfast on New Years Day people dress in traditional kimonos to go to the shrine or to the temple to pray for good luck and good health in the New Year
  • Daruma wish dolls, used for making New Year’s resolutions, can be purchased at the temple market. Similar to Russian dolls without arms or legs the dolls have a face with a moustache and beard. Its eyes only contain the color white.  One of the eyes is blackenedwith a magic marker when making a resolution. If, during the year, they accomplish their wish, they blacken the other eye to show they succeeded!
  • New Year cards are sent which are called Nengajyo
  • Japanese CHRISTMAS traditions and customs
  • Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival which often feature processions or parades which may include elaborate floats. The New Year festival is called Shogatsu and is the most important and most celebrated part of the holiday season
  • New Year decorations adorn the Japanese houses. The kadomatsu decorations are popular and consist of are made from bamboo, pine branches and strips of white folded paper
  • Just before midnight on New Years Eve the Japanese watch temple ceremonies on TV where a huge gong is stuck 108 times to wipe away the 108 sins of the past year

Traditions in Japan – The Food!

Festive feasts and recipes are traditional for special occasions including family dinners and meals. Interesting facts about the special food eaten as part of the customs and CHRISTMAS traditions in Japan:

  1. New Year festive food in Japan is called osechi-ryori. The colorful osechi-ryori dishes are packed in layers of lacquer boxes, called jubako. Each dish and ingredient in osechi-ryori has a meaning, such as fertility, good health, happiness and long life
  2. Osechi dishes might include the following:
    • Kobumaki – Salmon cooked in kelp served in rolls
    • Kuromame – Simmered sweet black beans
    • Datemaki – Sweet egg roll
    • Kurikinton – Mashed Sweet Potato with Sweet Chestnuts
    • Kinpira Gobo – Root vegetables that are stir-fried and glazed with soy sauce, sake, and sugar
    • Tazukuri – Dried Sardines in a teriyaki sauce
    • Namasu – Thinly sliced uncooked pickled vegetables and seafood – marinated in rice vinegar

Facts and Information about Japan:

Learn a little about the country of Japan, as well as its CHRISTMAS traditions! The following information provides some fast, interesting facts about Japan:

  1. Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
  2. Japanese Land Size : 374,744 sq km
  3. Japanese Climate / Weather : varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
  4. Japanese Capital City: Tokyo
  5. Japanese Currency : yen (JPY)



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