Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Shinnen Omedeto"
Location: Asia Pacific Rim
Tree Type: Cultural

Decorations:

  • The ornaments are made of paper and are created using the ancient art of paper folding (Origami).
  • The crane is a symbol of peace and long life. Tradition states that if you fold a thousand cranes you will live a long life.

Traditions: Though not a Christian country, Christmas is still celebrated by areas that are predominantly Christian. Most holiday traditions are western in nature but there are some Japanese touches added. The nativity play is one such popular tradition but the children will often be dressed in native costume rather than the traditional costumes. Santa Claus resembles a traditional a kindly old man caring a pack (Hotaisosho). In Japanese culture this figure is considered one of the gods or priests. It is said he has eyes in the back of his head so children are very careful to behave when it is rumored he is about.

The Japanese decorate a bamboo tree on July 7th. This celebration is called Tanabata or quite literally July 7. These trees are decorated with the same type of ornaments that are found on the museum tree. On New Year's Eve the houses are cleaned from top to bottom and are decorated for New Year's Day. When the house is cleaned the people dress in their finest clothes, the father marches through the house followed by the members of the family and he drives out any evil sprits that may be residing in the house. He throws dried beans into the corners of the house bidding the evil sprits to withdraw and good luck to enter.