How Do You Celebrate Christmas When No One Else Does?

4 years ago

If you live in North America or Europe, it may be hard to imagine December without reminders of Christmas everywhere, from the festive decorations in public spaces to the days that business virtually grinds to a halt around the 25th. But what about people who want to mark the occasion in a country that is not a predominantly Christian culture?

Image Credit: jmurawski via Flickr

That's what Melanie Oda of Hamakko Mommy finds herself doing. Oda is an American -- and daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher -- who moved to Japan, married a Japanese fellow and is currently raising her family there. She finds herself in an awkward situation this time of year, when she wants to pull her kids out of school for the holiday. This is what she writes on World Moms Blog:

Usually, I don’t make a big deal out of it. Part of the laid back attitude of the Japanese way of thinking means you are seldom called upon to explain your beliefs. (Whew!)

I have, though, found myself in a peck full of pickles for the first time this year. Christmas is a school day.

Insert shock and horror here.

I talked to my (Japanese) mother-in-law, who was raised in a very strict Methodist household, about what she did when she was a child. Her answer was, “Why would we have to miss school since Christmas is always on a Sunday?”

I guess it's similar to how Muslims or Jews must feel in the United States, when life goes on during their holiest days. Have you ever found yourself in the situation of explaining to others why you are taking time off for your religious holidays? How did you deal with it?

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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