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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

Christmas Jokes | British Christmas | London Topic | Project Britain | Homework Help

homeDay 18


What is the traditional Christmas food in Japan?

















Sponge cake with Strawberrie!

The traditional Japanese christmas cake is a sponge cake, with strawberries and whipped cream.

One of the highlights of the Christmas season in Japan is the giving of the Christmas cake The cake is eaten on Christmas Eve.

How to write "Merry Christmas" in Japanese


The major religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto, so Christmas is more commercial event.

The main celebration revolves around Christmas eve and not Christmas day.

image: sushi "My Christmas Dinner is Sushi".
Yachiyo, from Japan

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (the Daiku) is traditionally performed in many places at Christmas time.

Only 1% of Japanese people are Christians. Until recent times only Christians in Japan celebrated Christmas. Now the commercial side of Christmas has hit Japan and most people join in the fun, although not necessarily to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Christmas lights and decorations are on display all over Japan, but particularly in shopping areas, restaurants, along streets, and on local television shows.

Christmas Day is a normal school day for children in Japan.

tree The traditional name for Father Christmas in Japan is 'Hoteiosho'. Originally 'Hoteiosho' was a priest like St Nicholas. He is described as an old man with a big sack on his back as well. The legend says that 'Hoteiosho' has eyes in the back of his head - so he can keep a special eye on the behaviour of children.

Few Japanese families will have a Christmas tree. Real Christmas trees in Japan are very expensive, so even if a Japanese family has a tree it will be small, plastic, and presents will not go underneath it.

Christmas trees are decorated in much the same way as ours with tinsel and colourful balls.

In recent years, Kentucky Fried Chicken's 'Christmas Chicken Dinner' has become quite popular. Many Japanese even make reservations for their "Christmas Chicken" ahead of time to avoid long queues at the restaurants on Christmas Day.

In Japan, Christmas in not an official holiday and has less importance than New Year's Day, which everyone in Japan celebrates. The New Year celebrations, Oshogatsu, is a very important holiday in Japan.

'Akemashite, Omedeto Gozaimasu' means 'Happy New Year in Japanese'.

"Kotoshimo dozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu" May this year bring a good relationship between us

"Many Japanese return to their parents' home during a vacation after the New Year just like Europe Christmas holiday. The new year holiday is from from 29 Dec to 3 Jan and is called "Oshougatsu yasumi(お正月やすみ)”
Yachiyo, from Japan

"Following Shinto tradition, homes are thoroughly cleaned before the New Year. This is called "oo so-ji" (大掃除)
Yachiyo, from Japan

Special food, osechi ryori, is prepared before New Years day

At night on New Year's eve, many people go to a Buddhist temple to take part in the tolling of the temple bell 108 times - a sacred number for Buddhists. The tolling is part of a ceremony that allows the year to begin free of evil.

Message from a visitor living in Japan:

"I am a Christian missionary in north Japan (in Sapporo, on the northern-most island of Hokkaido) and I am preparing for a pre-Advent service (one week before Advent starts). I want to explain to Japanese Christians and non-Christians (children and adults) about the meaning of Advent and some of the traditions connected with it. Your website was a great help, so I hope you will be encouraged to know that your hard work is being used such a long, long way away!

To start my talk, I will use my big dog puppet, `Scruffy`. The word Advent is pronounced `Adobento` in Japanese. It sounds a bit like the Japanese word `Obento`, which means a packed lunch! So Scruffy will be confused and a bit disappointed at first that it`s not a service with a packed lunch provided but an Advent service. However, I`m sure by the time I`ve finished explaining what Advent is all about, he will be so looking forward to it that he won`t mind about the lunch any more!

Just thought you might like some feedback about how far your site has reached!

Best wishes to you all, and I wish you a happy Advent and a very special Christmas, too."

Wendy Gerster (Mrs.)

Time in Japan now

Here is a chart which compares
facts about Japan with facts about the UK

7 days till Christmas!

Below is Silent Night written in Japanese writing


Advent Calendar

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Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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