What is the Tanabata Festival?
What is the Tanabata festival?
Japan has a lot of different holidays. And if you have just moved to Japan or you are traveling through Japan during a Japanese holiday then you may be curious to know what is being celebrated.
On July 7th, Japanese celebrate Tanabata which is the star festival. This is a holiday that is celebrated by families who have small children. Children write their wishes and dreams on a five coloured oblong cards which are the tied to a bamboo leaf.
Tanabata is believed to have come from an old story about Orihime and Hikoboshi. Orihimi was a beautiful weaver princess and Hikoboshi was a young cattle herder. The story goes something along the lines of this: There was once a girl named Orihime who was the daughter of God and she has a job in making kimonos for God. Then one day, God decided to look for a husband for Orihime and decided to introduce her to Hikoboshi. Hikoboshi was a hard working man who worked hard to raise his cows. When the two of them met each other they at once fell in love with each other and not long after they got married. They spent all the time they could together as they got a long extremely well.
Because they spent so much time together they started not to work as hard. So people were not able to get their kimonos and the cows were dying from diseases. Because of this, god got mad and he decided it was best to separate the two. And the way he decided to do this was to separate them to the East and West of the milky way. God allowed Orihime and Hikoboshi to meet but he only allowed them to meet once a year on the night of July 7th. So on July 7th it is said that your wishes will come true if you look up at the sky and make a wish.
On Tanabata, it is traditional to eat Somen noodles which are thin wheat noodles that are dipped in a cold soup. Many people eat somen not only on this day but during the summer as it is a cold refreshing meal to eat.
In Sendai of Miyagi prefecture, the Tanabata festival is extremely famous. It is held on August 6th to the 8th every year and the who city is decorated with gorgeous washi and bamboos. There are all different colours of these washi and bamboos so you can enjoy the colours while walking around the city.
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