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By the beginning of December, streets and shops are filled with Christmas decorations and illumination. In Japan, Christmas is widely celebrated not for its religious significance, but simply as an event that everyone enjoys.
As soon as Christmas has passed, the business of wrapping up the year becomes urgent. Schools close for winter vacation just before or soon after Christmas, and businesses and government offices usually go on holiday starting from the 29th. At the end of the year, preparations are made for the New Year by doing a thorough cleaning and preparing for the customary dishes (o-zōni and o-setchi ryōri) served during the New Year’s holidays. After midnight on December 31st, at the opening of the New Year, the bells hanging in the precincts of the Buddhist temples can be heard ringing, and it is customary to eat “year-crossing noodles”—toshi-koshi soba—to mark the crossing from the old year to the new.

Holidays: Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno Tanjobi; December 23)

Related Sites:
"Deai" Teacher Support Information/MiniEncyclopedia/Annual Events/Christmas

"Deai" Teacher Support Information/MiniEncyclopedia/Annual Events/Year End and the New Year