Jul 7, 2014

Tanabata Festival

On July 7th every year, the Japanese celebrate “Tanabata” or the “Star Festival”. Translated into English, Tanabata means “The evening of the 7th”.
This celestial festival came to Japan from China and became popular among the Japanese in the Edo era. The actual date of celebration varies slightly from place to place, between July 7th and August 8th. 

Tanabata celebrates the coming together of the two stars “Vega (Ori hime = seamstress) and “Altair (hikoboshi = cow herd).
Legend has it that these two stars are separated by the Milky Way, due to a curse imposed upon them by the angry Sky King (Orihime’s dad), and can only unite once a year on July 7th of the seventh lunar month, provided there are no clouds! Unfortunately, in Okayama, it rained on July 7th this year, so I guess there was no starry reunion! Perhaps the distance will make their hearts grow fonder while they wait impatiently for next year!

Originally, this festival was an opportunity for young boys and girls to wish for “acquiring new skills such as sewing, craft work, handwriting," etc. In present day Japan, the custom in Tanabata is to write ones wishes on small strips of colored paper called Tanzaku,
and hang them on bamboo branches, decorated with ornaments and colorful streamers. Tanabata is now mainly a custom followed by young Japanese women, who wish for that “special person”; an extended opportunity to find their love, in time for next year’s Valentine's Day! 

Although, Tanabata is celebrated nationwide, the biggest and most famous Tanabata Festival in Japan is held in Sendai City, in eastern Japan. Happy Tanabata, my friends!!  
When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires, Will come to you…….

Tanabata Decorations around Okayama City
Tanabata decorations around Okayama City
Tanabata candle light up in Okayama City 2014
Tanabata candle light up in Okayama City 2014
Tanabata decorations in Sendai
Tanabata decorations in Sendai


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