Christmas cake

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

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Christmas cake (countable and uncountable, plural Christmas cakes)

  1. A rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and icing, traditionally eaten at Christmas.
  2. (slang, Japan) a woman over 25 years old
    • 2 June 2004 Paul Wiseman No sex please — we're Japanese USA Today
      young women no longer feel bound by the Japanese tradition that says a woman unmarried after age 25 is like a Christmas cake on Dec. 26 — stale.
    • 22 November 2004 Christine Lagorio Japan's Women Defy Pressure To Wed CBS News
      In the 1980s, a woman unmarried by 25 was dismissed as "Christmas cake" — thrown out on Dec. 26. These days the big number is 31, and women unmarried by that age are "New Year's Eve noodles," noodles being a typical New Year's Eve dish.
    • 13 March 2007 Miral Fahmy In Asia, being an "old maid" depends on where you are Reuters
      in Japan where unmarried women over the age of 25 used to be called "Christmas cake" -- past their best, just like a cream and strawberry pastry popular in the country during the holiday.
    • 23 March 2010 Naoko Takemaru Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The Linguistic Roots of Bias pg 1
      Rather than wishing me well, he made a reference to my being a "kurisumasu keeki (Christmas cake)." In the 1980s, single Japanese women were liked to cakes that people in Japan consume on or before Christmas day: They are both much in demand for a limited time, the cake until the 25th day of December, the woman until the 25th year of her life, and undesirable thereafter.
    • 21 December 2011 Bee Wilson The joys of Christmas fruitcake The Telegraph
      In Japan Christmas cakes are airy sponges, often made with strawberries: highly perishable. Hence, a cruel saying: Japanese women who remained unmarried past the age of 25 used to be referred to as Christmas cakes, implying that they had passed their use-by date.
    • 16 December 2014 Alison Bruzek Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All National Public Radio
      The cakes go on discount once Dec. 25 rolls around — a fact that gave birth to an unfortunate bit of old Japanese slang: "Christmas cake" was used to refer to an unmarried woman who was over 25 and thus, considered past her prime.
    • 1 September 2016 Most Japanese want to be married, but are finding it hard The Economist
      SEIKO, a 35-year-old journalist in Tokyo, is what the Japanese refer to as “New Year Noodles”. The year ends on December 31st, and, by analogy, the period when a Japanese woman is deemed a desirable marriage prospect ends after 31. It could have been worse: the slang term used to be “Christmas cake” because a woman’s best-before date was considered to be 25.
    • 23 November 2016 Amy Chavez 5 Words That Describe Modern Japanese Women Huffington Post under 1. New Year’s Noodles
      Japanese women used to be labelled Christmas cake if they weren’t married by the age of 25. That age marker, nuanced by the 25th of December, is also the date after which a Christmas cake is considered old and stale, or past its use-by-date. Nowadays a woman’s marriageable age is compared to Japanese New Year’s noodles that are eaten on December 31.

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