As less than 1% of Japanese are Christian, there's really no spiritual basis for celebrating Christmas, so the emphasis is more on the commercial aspects of the holiday. This has resulted in some quirky traditions... such as eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner.
|You have to reserve this party barrel for Christmas (Image source)|
Christmas just isn't a big deal here. They do have some Christmas customs though - apparently eating KFC is one of these. On Christmas Eve, we drove past a KFC takeout place, and there was a line so long that it went out of the shop and all the way onto the street. So I wasn't completely surprised when, for tea tonight, there was a familiar looking red and white box containing pieces of 'original recipe' chicken on the table. After tea we had a very beautifully decorated German Christmas cake, which, before eating, we all said 'itadakimasu!' Talk about a multi-cultural Christmas - American takeout, German cake, and Japanese set phrases. Weird...Where did the Kentucky Fried Christmas come from? Legend has it that foreigners in Japan took to having KFC for Christmas, as it was difficult to get turkey. The company bigwigs soon caught wind of this, and were inspired to launch a massive marketing campaign in the 1970s - クリスマスにはケンタッキー (Kentucky for Christmas)! It has remained a popular tradition ever since, with people ordering their buckets of chicken months in advance.
It's also just been announced that Japan Airlines has collaborated with KFC to serve the chicken as an onboard meal this Christmas, so passengers can have a finger-lickingly festive flight.
|JAL/KFC collaborate for Christmas (Image source)|