Thursday, December 10, 2015

Countdown to Christmas 16 - Another Birthday!


" She just turned 26. She's a Christmas cake now." ....
To me it seems ironic, that in Japan, a country where Christmas is not really celebrated, that the term "Christmas cake" could become such an anti-feminist expression in the 1980's . In Japan it has become a tradition to eat Christmas cake on Christmas Eve, but the  Christmas cakes are highly decorated sponge cakes with lots of  whipped cream and fresh fruit.  These cakes are very popular and expensive and are usually ordered weeks in advance, but they have a short shelf life and do not last after Christmas Day.
So, the cake intended for Christmas that was not eaten or left over  after 25th December is considered "bad" and should be thrown out. "Christmas Cake" then became the term for women who were over the age of 25 and unmarried. The implied meaning is that a Japanese woman 26+years is considered past her prime, and hence undesirable  as a marriage partner.
While the use of  " christmas cake " to describe unmarried 26 year old women  is not commonly used in Japan any more such statements as " She married her husband at 30, so you know he wasn't bothered that she was Christmas cake!" can still be heard and  indicate that the traditional ideas of women's status based on Confucianism and the feudal law of the samurai are still given some credence. However, as the age of women when they marry increases, the usage of "Christmas Cake"   in the future will have no significance.
 
Tomorrow - another Jpaanese connection with Christmas Cake.