Five things you (probably) didn't know about Christmas


| - Tim Lake |

things about christmas

Christmas is one of those cultural imports to Japan that has lost quite a lot in translation, along with that strange switch in roles at Valentine's Day. To help you learn a bit more about Christmas, here are a few facts about Christmas that you probably didn’t know. Read on to find out:


1.) December 25th Christmas Day is actually the start of the Christmas holiday season*. The religious festival lasts twelve days and ends on January 7th. That is why there is a Christmas Song called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and it is also where Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night” gets it’s title. In Japan Christmas ends on December 25th and by December 26th all the decorations have been replaced for New Year.



2.) In the Christian tradition December 25th is marked as the birthday of Jesus Christ. In fact December 25th was originally the date the Romans celebrated the winter solstice and the Christian festival seems to have replaced that. It is not entirely clear on which date Jesus Christ was born. Some Christians still celebrate Christmas - the birth of Christ - on January 6th.



3.) Christmas was banned in the 17th Century because it became connected with partying, drunkenness and bad behaviour. Although a legal holiday, it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that the common values and traditions we think of as being connected to Christmas - family, presents, religion, charity - took shape, influenced by writers such as Charles Dickens. Other traditions such a Christmas crackers, Christmas trees and Christmas cards all date from the Victorian Era.

3.)パーティ、お酒などの悪習慣を生むとして、クリスマスは17世紀には禁止されていました。 当時もクリスマスは法的に休日でしたが、家族・プレゼント・宗教・慈善活動などの伝統が生まれたのはヴィクトリア時代です。チャールズ・ディケンズなどの作家の影響もあると言われています。 その他、クリスマスクラッカーやクリスマスツリー、クリスマスカードなどの伝統も、すべてヴィクトリア時代に始まったものです。


4.) In terms of food, during the Victorian Era Roast Beef or Roast Turkey were considered the main Christmas dish for wealthy families. However Roast Goose was more common among less well off families, as were oysters. These days people don’t eat beef, but Turkey and Goose are still popular. The tradition of eating turkey goes back to the 16th Century, but was probably made more popular by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. In Japan KFC has done a good job of making Christmas about chicken!



5.) In the UK, people call Santa Claus "Father Christmas". The name Santa Claus likely comes from the Dutch “Sinterklaas”. However all these names refer to a man called Saint Nicholas, or Saint Nick, who was, historically, a Greek bishop in the 4th Century and lived in what is now Turkey. He was famous for giving gifts to the poor, especially children.



There you go five historical facts about Christmas. What did you find most surprising? How are you celebrating Christmas? Turkey, Goose or KFC? Let us know on social media.
クリスマスに関する5つの事実、びっくりすることもあったのではないでしょうか? あなたはクリスマスをどのようにお祝いしますか?七面鳥?ガチョウ?それともケンタッキー?


*Some Christian traditions have their main Christmas celebration on the 24th, Christmas Eve, not on the 25th. ※宗派によっては25日ではなく24日のクリスマスイブにメインのお祝いを行うこともあります。