(December 25th)

●クリスマス Christmas
●クリスマスイブ Christmas Eve
●クリスマスツリー a Christmas tree
●イエス・キリスト Jesus Christ
●キリストの降誕 the Nativity of Jesus; the Birth of Jesus [Christ]
●教会 a church
●ミサ (the) Mass; mass
●賛美歌 carol; hymn; psalm; 【集名coll.N.】psalmody
●クリスマスキャロル Christmas carol
●サンタクロース Santa Claus; St. Nicholas; 【英Br.】Father Christmas;
●トナカイ a reindeer
●(雪・氷上)そり a sled
●クリスマスカード a Christmas card
●クリスマスプレゼント a Christmas gift
●おもちゃ a toy
●コンピューターゲーム a computer game
●装飾品 accessory; jewelry
●ご馳走 a feast
●七面鳥 turkey
●チキン chicken
●ケーキ cake

Christmas which falls on December 25th is the Nativity, the celebration of Christ’s birth.

December 25th is not always believed to be Christ’s actual date of birth.

It is said that the Nativity was assimilated with various religious functions, the winter solstice, and harvest festivals.

Christmas has been changed since it started around the 3rd century.

Saint Claus is one of the most popular symbols of Christmas and he is called Father Christmas in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Saint Nicholas, a bishop who actually existed in Asia Minor in the 4th century, is considered to be a model of Saint Claus.

In America, the Dutch Protestants conveyed the story that Saint Nicholas gave gifts to the poor in America.

Saint Nicholas gradually became who Santa Claus is today, and the news was spread throughout the world.

Santa Clause carries presents for children on the sleigh drawn by reindeers and goes to each of their houses to deliver presents while they are sleeping.

Although Christmas rituals and customs vary from country to country, most of the Christmas customs in Japan came from America.

It is said common Japanese people learned about Christmas in the Taisho period (1912-1926).

Christmas is very important to Japanese people as well as New Year, Golden Week, and O-bon holiday.

However, unlike Western countries and several countries in Asia, Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan.

The reason is there is a law to separate religion and politics in the Japanese Constitution.

The number of Christians in Japan is not as large as in Western countries, and Japanese people are relatively flexible about religions.

Naturally Japanese Christians go to church and attend Mass at Christmas time.

Christmas is just one of the secular celebrations for most of other Japanese people.

As soon as Halloween is over, commercial facilities and streets are decorated beautifully with ornaments and lights.

Like in many other countries, Christmas in Japan has been commercialized.

A great number of Christmas events and Christmas sales take place.

The Christmas events in Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are one of the most attractive ones in Japan.

In December, one Christmas dinner show after another is held by singers, actors, comedians or athletes in big hotels all over Japan.

Though many of their tickets cost over \30,000, popular ones are sold out immediately.

In Western countries, people often eat turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, Christmas pudding, and fruit cake for Christmas celebrations.

Japanese hardly ever eat turkey, so they often eat roasted chicken instead.

A typical Christmas cake in Japan is a round sponge cake covered with whipped cream or chocolate and with strawberries on top.

The cake is decorated with some ornaments such as Saint Claus, a reindeer, a Christmas tree and a bell.

In Japan, children are looking forward to Christmas the most during the year just like in any other country.

Children have two big chances a year to get expensive gifts: Christmas and their birthdays.

Probably the most popular present for both boys and girls is a computer game.

In many Western countries, Christmas gifts are put under a Christmas tree, but Japanese people usually hand them to each other.

The exchange of Christmas cards is not as popular as the exchange of New Year cards, but Christmas cards are often given with Christmas gifts.

More and more people send Christmas messages through e-mails or SNS.

Many single men and women prefer to spend Christmas Eve romantically with their girlfriends or boyfriends rather than their families.

They are very concerned with whom, where, and how to spend Christmas Eve.

Fashionable restaurants and hotels are crowded with couples on Christmas Eve.

Popular famous restaurants and hotels are already booked up for Christmas Eve several months in advance.

Couples exchange gifts and women especially 0are sometimes given expensive things such as jewelry or a designer bag.

(Please see “Our Christmas Experience” and “Christmas in Tokyo” for further information.)

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