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メリークリスマス from Japan

Christmas Eve is celebrated by couples and families and to a certain extent even resembles Valentine's Day for many in Japan. Gifts are exchanged and the festive season is usually celebrated as a time to spread happiness rather than a time of religious celebration as most of the locals are either Buddhist or Shintoist. The children usually enjoy parties where singing and dancing takes place and a Christmas sponge cake decorated with strawberries, whipped cream and a figurine of Mr Santa is shared by all. Eating fried chicken instead of Turkey is a popular tradition and KFC is a firm favourite amongst the Japanese people. Children usually wake up early on the morning of the 25th of December to find their presents and in some families the father dresses up as Mr Santa and hands out gifts on Christmas Eve.