The Second Day of Christmas in Japan

…two turtle doves…

Christmas in the U.S. is very much a family holiday. We fly back to the homestead from wherever it is we’ve ended up, bringing our own wives, husbands, and offspring along. Extended family members gather in from wherever they’ve ended up and everyone sits down and eats together, after young ones have grabbed whatever they could get their hands on. Dinner is eaten, wine is drunk, TV specials are watched.

Here, however, while Christmas is a special day and celebrated by those with small children, the majority of celebrants are in the twenty to thirty age range. Couples go out for dinner after work and exchange a small gift or two, depending on how far along the relationship is, and then, well, rumour has it that Japanese love hotels do more business on Christmas than any other night of the year.

Family time and returning to the ancestral hometown are reserved for the New Year’s Holiday. Most Japanese busninesses and companies close for three or four days, usually between Dec. 29 or 30 to Jan. 3 or 4. People pack up the kids and go, on alternate years, to either his or her parents’ house, usually by car. At the parents’ house, dinner is eater, wine is drunk, and TV specials are watched.

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