It doesn't take long in Japan to discover that many holidays have crossed the ocean. One also soon discovers that the way these holidays are celebrated is very different than one's own experience. Japanese tend to be very eclectic, adopting a variety of styles, tastes and customs from many cultures, but always adapting them to suit their unique tastes. Borrowed holidays are a pretty "mixed up" affair here.
This American foreigner was intrigued to discover that Japanese turned Valentine's day into two separate events in February and March, one for boys and another for girls. Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. And the Christmas cake, not ham or turkey, is the main eating attraction.
Several years ago Halloween began to become more popular in Japan. While I have mixed feelings about this holiday coming to Japan, it brings a flavor of home to see pumpkins and fall decor in stores. But I have to draw the line at the new greeting this year printed on Halloween goods and decorations everywhere: "Merry Halloween." I hope it is a one-year anomaly coming from some confused supplier somewhere in Asia, but I have the feeling it's going to become a fixed part of the local vocab.
I can see where this mixed up holiday trend is going in Japan. So someday when a Japanese wishes you a "Happy Christmas" in a card with a picture of a Mickey Mouse cake on it, you will know where it started.