2021.12.18 International coaches

Italian Christmas: different place, different holidays

Christmas is approaching. We can feel it in the air…and in the Christmas decorations everywhere.

Actually, in Italy, tradition wants to start decorating after the 8th of December for “L’Immacolata”, or the “Holy conception festivity”. My mom brought up all our decorations and the big tree from the garage, where we store them, and started giving that Christmasy atmosphere to our home.

In Japan Christmas is not a national holiday but in most of the Christian countries in the world, the 25th, at least, is a day off so that everyone can enjoy this day with family.
This is another big difference from Japan: in Christian countries and especially in Italy, Christmas is all about staying with your family. We exchange every year lots of presents and usually, we keep them under the Christmas tree and open them in the morning of the 25th, after “Babbo Natale” (“Father Christmas”, or Santa Claus in English) during the night of Christmas Eve “leaves” all the presents in each home.

In Japan, Christians are only 1.5% of the population and Christmas is mostly a commercial holiday and not a religious festivity. In Italy, instead the holiday is culturally related to our religion, so we have a big feast on Christmas Eve, Christmas and the day after Christmas as well, with all our relatives to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Every region in Italy has its own tradition but, where I live in Sicily, for Christmas day we eat “tortellini” and then a lot of meat and, finally, “Pandoro” or “Panettone” as dessert. I’m getting hungry right now, only thinking about it.


I was lucky to experience a new kind of Christmas in Japan and right now I am able again to share the Christmas atmosphere with my family in Italy. I was also lucky to experience the big festivity in Japan for the beginning of the year, Shogatsu: last year, during Shogatsu’s eve I went to a Buddhist temple and rang a big bell. It was a new interesting experience from my normal end of year’s traditions.

So, remember when you work with foreign companies or colleagues that festivities and national holidays are different depending on where you are. So let’s say “Merry Christmas” and maybe send a gift to your Italian client, and for us Italians and foreigners, we will participate to a bonenkai with our Japanese friends, colleagues or clients (hopefully after Covid) and go to the temple!

Veritas Coach

Cristina Raffa

Cristina was born in the hot and sunny Sicily, an island in the South of Italy. She graduated in Foreign languages and literature and her interest is currently focused on Japanese language and culture. After many study trips to the UK, she decided to move there for a period of time and improve her English. When she came back to Italy, she started to teach English and Italian to students from children to adults, wanting to put in practice what she had learned in university. Focusing on her Japanese, she did an exchange study programme at Meiji University in Japan, where she discovered Veritas and its unique programme.
Here she can follow her passion and love for teaching and grow as a person thanks to her experience as a coach, improving her skills by focusing on the students and their progress.
With the help of a strong and united team, at Veritas she has the opportunity to inspire people and guide them to become global leaders of tomorrow.