Saturday, December 24, 2005

Xmas in Japan

Also in Japan, Christmas is a special day. People buy and give presents, have Christmas cakes. There are many decorated Christmas trees everywhere.

But, it is only a celebration, without Christianity. All Japanese know that Dec. 24th is Christmas Eve, but most Japanese haven't read the Holy Bible at all. Few people go to mass on Christmas day.

Some Japanese (in particular, younger people) don't know that Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ. Because most Japanese are Buddhists or believers in Shinto (Japanese original religion). Yes, in Japan, non-Christian people celebrate Christmas.

Of course, we Japanese respect Jesus Christ and Christian religion. Merely, Japanese are very tolerant of religion. The most popular Japanese celebration style are as follows: new baby celebration in Shinto style, wedding ceremony in Christian style, funeral ceremony in Buddhist style. People say "Merry Christmas!" on December 25th and pray to Japanese God on new year's day.

Maybe it is not the way religion is viewed worldwide, but this is our unique religious practice. It is not a recent trend, it is a trend from A.D. 538 - the year Buddhism came to Japan. Since that year, Japanese accept two or more religions equally (For example, Buddhism and Shinto).

We enjoy our New Year's celebration very much. In Japan, Christmas day isn't a holiday for all companies and schools, but from December 28th to January 3rd, most companies and all schools are closed.

We send many new year's cards (I have written 170 cards for the coming new year, for friends, relatives and co-workers.), and we have a special classical meal in our houses. Relatives gather to the oldest relative's house and say "A Happy new Year!" together. I'm anticipating the days - winter holidays and new year's day.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!