An Extraordinary Island

 

Christmas Cake

The cake is normally purchased on Christmas Eve by families to celebrate the holiday. However, on Christmas Day, the cake's price drops dramatically to ensure that all are sold before the next day. This has led to a Japanese superstition that believes young women are Christmas cakes: married before 25 years of age or otherwise greatly discounted!

Daiku

This title, also known as the “Great Nine,” refers to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which is heard or performed throughout Japan's Christmas season, though typically closer to New Year's. The chorus, known in America as “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” is sung in mass chorus on occasion.

Bonenkai

This term stands for “forget the old year parties” and refers to the end of the year parties thrown by companies and a variety of groups. A section of a restaurant is normally rented out and before long, all in attendance are very intoxicated. These continue throughout the season.

Hoteiosha

This priest, or pantheon god, is similar to Santa Claus. He brings gifts to Japanese houses and leaves them for the children, but he also has eyes in the back of his head, so children try to always be on their best behavior.

 

Sources:

http://tanutech.com/japan/jxmas.html

http://www.cvc.org/christmas/japan.htm

http://www.christmas.com/worldview/jp

http://www.santas.net/japanesechristmas.htm

 

Copyright 2003 Mary E. Bishop