Origin of Christmas

Origin of Christmas

The strongest image Japanese have of Christmas is presents and cards, the decorations of the tree, but these are only a small part of Christmas and Christmas is a holiday which is celebrated differently in different countries. What Japanese think of as Christmas is actually a mixture of many of these different traditions from different countries. In the following, I will attempt to identify some of the Christmas customs of foreign countries that have become the customs of Japanese Christmas.

A 2008 International Survey by the Nikke Shinbun given to 9,200 people showed some differences in budgeting for Christmas. U.K. was the highest on a present budget in that, the present average budget was 541 pounds (about 10,800 yen). The second place was U.S.A. and it’s an average of 948 dollars (9,900yen). The American people use a little less than 100,000 yen for a Christmas present, too. Japan was last with an average of 10,700 yen in 15 countries. So, even though a large part of the Japanese image of Christmas is the exchange of presents, Japanese don’t make this as large a part of the holiday as British and Americans do. This suggests that the main source of Christmas images and ideas are these two English speaking countries. So, while we can identify many different parts of Christmas that have come from other countries, all of these parts may have been put together in American and Britain before being taken on by the Japanese.

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