Why The Japanese Made Eating KFC a Christmas Tradition

People in the UK celebrate Christmas (generally) by eating turkey. Whilst elsewhere carp is eaten by Austrians, ham in Finland, fried eel in Southern Italy, codfish in Portugal, and those in Sicily devour a selection of 12 different fish during their festivities.

Perhaps not all of these are surprising (apart from maybe the eel), but Japan has just outdone the majority of the world with their odd Christmas dinner quirk.

Rather than enjoying a slap-up Sunday-style dinner full of vegetables, warm potatoes and eaten with a knife and fork, those who celebrate Christmas in Japan treat themselves to a full Christmas dinner of... KFC.

The origins of the KFC Christmas story is one worth telling to anyone who will listen - in 1974 KFC were just finding their feet selling their western fried chicken to the lighter-eating Asian market and had a few KFCs dotted about Japan's hot spots. Many people didn't look to KFC during Christmas time and, although KFC marketers would love you to believe it was their incredible brains which created this new Japanese tradition, it was in fact started by a few passionate chicken lovers who began something called the "Christmas Chicken" campaign, which would see Christmas tradition changed forever more...

Discouraged by the fact that it was Christmas and there was nowhere in Japan to find decent turkey on the big day (Christmas isn't generally celebrated in Japan as only 5% of the population are Christian), they decided to start their own campaign which would see chicken thrust to the forefront of the nation's mouths.

KFC of course saw this as absolute gold during one of their quieter months in one of their less profitable countries, and decided to go ahead with the followers' campaign and make it a big thing for every Christmas following.

Nowadays, KFC offer Japanese patrons a full Christmas dinner complete with wine, champagne, cake and of course, chicken. Chicken Fever has definitely caught on since and every year there are lines out the door with people reserving tables and pre-ordering their Christmas fare from the Kentucky chain.

When you think about it, it really isn't that strange... after all, Santa Claus was originally green but when Coca-Cola launched a massive Christmas campaign in 1931 which saw Santa changed to red, it just stuck! Now our present-day Santa is red - and would we have it any other way?!

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