Friday, July 6, 2012

Tanabata: Star Festival

My yukata

Today is  Tanabata 七夕, a Japanese star festival held every summer on 7 July. The story is about two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who were separated by the Milky Way, but who were allowed to see each other once a year, on July 7th. The legend states that if the sky is clear on Tanabata, there is a bridge formed by birds across the Milky Way and the lovers can meet, but if it rains, the lovers cannot meet.

All over Japan, Tanabata is celebrated by writing wishes on small pieces of coloured paper and hanging them on bamboo tree, and on this day some people dress up in yukata 浴衣 (summer kimono). Last year I was teaching at a kindergarten, we all dressed up with the kids and re-enacted the story book, it was adorable. I love to wear my yukata any chance I get, but there will be plenty of festivals this summer in Japan.

Today is grey and rainy, so I imagine the lovers won't meet, but it's a beautiful idea nonetheless. I also like visiting shrines that are surrounded by the most colourful trees. It's such a happy, romantic tradition.

I haven't written my wish yet. I think everything I wished for last year somehow came true, so I want to think about it carefully.

Tanabata wish tree

Not a bad wish

I enjoy reading other people's wishes


Noire said...

What a lovely Yukata!
I'm still on the hunt for mine :)

Yuri said...

I love this story, thank you for sharing.
I have heard of the word "tanabata" but I wasn't sure what it was all about.

Lovely yukata btw<3

Emelie said...

I learned about this festival in my school last week, it is a beautiful story! We have a small bamboo tree in our school now with these colorful wishes :) but as you said, it looks really rainy today! :(
Have a nice weekend :)

OneWord said...

What an awesome blog! Just found it and it's so interesting!