It’s Christmas Day, and millions of people around the world will be gathering around the table for a traditional Christmas dinner. The tradition of the Christmas feast is alive and well in Japan where thousands of people will gather together … to eat KFC.
That’s right. The Colonel’s secret recipe is a Christmas favorite in Japan.
Only about one percent of the Japanese population is Christian, so Christmas isn’t a national holiday. Christmas is more of a commercial event in Japan, where people spend a lot of money on decorations, gifts, and of course, dinner at KFC.
The tradition started in 1974 when a group of foreigners ate Kentucky Fried Chicken because they couldn’t find turkey. Thus, “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” or the “Kentucky for Christmas!” marketing campaign was born, and KFC launched its first Christmas meal: chicken and wine. The feast has evolved since the seventies and now includes champagne, cake, and a side salad... all for about 3,336 yen ($40).
The “Kentucky for Christmas” excitement starts long before Christmas day. Japan’s KFC website has a Christmas countdown. Many order their chicken dinners months in advance to avoid the KFC Christmas Day lines, where the wait can be as long as 2 hours.
Of course, the Christmas chicken tradition would be nothing without commercials!