Monday, December 3, 2012

JAPAN: A NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITION

While reading about Christmas traditions, I ran across this interesting tidbit:
"Christmas in Japan means one thing: Fried chicken from KFC. Poultry is a rarity in Japan, and the custom of ordering from the fast food chain likely started when Americans on the prowl for a traditional Christmas bird had to settle for the Colonel’s golden-fried alternative. In the 1970s, noticing an uptick in sales around the holidays, KFC saw an opportunity to start a new Christmas tradition and began to advertise its chicken as an integral part of the holiday season in Japan. Now, several decades later, the Japanese have embraced fried chicken at Christmas with an almost maniacal devotion. Customers reserve their buckets months in advance, and those foolish enough to wait until Christmas Eve have to wait in lines that snake for blocks to get a taste of the Colonel’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. But I’m sure the wait is worth it, because there’s nothing more magical at this time of year than gathering the family around the chicken bucket."  (Found on this site.)

I laughed and thought to myself, Surely this is someone's stretching of the truth.  I emailed Rachael and asked her if she had ever heard of this tradition, and she replied, "Yep! In fact I vividly remember seeing a special stand outside one KFC during the first Christmas we were married [and living in Japan] that was manned by a female KFC employee dressed in a Santa outfit...with a short skirt of course. KFC also makes sense because of the colors. Red and white are auspicious."


A quick search of the internet yielded hundreds of supporting statements and pictures:

Yeah, I know he doesn't look Christmas-y, but I just couldn't resist.
Time to scrap the Southern California tradition of tamales on Christmas Eve.  I'm all for trying a year with the Colonel in his auspicious red and white suit!

How about you?  Do you have any culture-based Christmas traditions?

7 comments:

  1. Hmm...We traditionally have Hawaiian haystacks on Christmas Eve. I traditionally send German advent calendars with chocolate in them to the grandkids Does that count?

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  2. Christmas is actually a romantic holiday in Japan. Going out to KFC is a date thing and they also share Christmas cake with each other. In Mexico my family celebrates the holiday with a huge manger scene. It is about 4 ft tall and about the width of a bed. Also presents are given out at midnight after you have a toast with 12 grapes (also done for new years, why grapes I have no idea). Oh, and you can't forget the pinata (symbol of beating out the sins of the year).

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    1. I didn't know that is what the pinata symbolizes! Awesome!

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  3. It seems like we could reverse the Japanese tradition and have fish (sushi) for Christmas. The Christians view the fish as a symbol of Christianity so it seems totally appropriate for the day.

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    1. I'm game. Does that mean we can get rid of the exotic meats tradition? Maybe we could have puffer fish sushi.

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  4. Yes, since the New Year is their big holiday and Christmas is a commercial one, traditions in Japan are very interesting. I remember during our training for teaching that first year in Japan being warned not to ask about our students' Christmas plans, because if they didn't have a significant other then it would be an embarassement for them to say no. Valentine's Day, on the other hand, is a day for girls to give guys chocolate. Pfffft

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