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Tanabatta A star festival where all your dreams come true

Japan Travel Blog

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decorations on bambbo trees

Tanabata  is a Japanese star festival, that originated from the Chinese  star festival, Qi Xi 

Tanabata  celebrates the meeting of Orihime(Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on  JUly 7th.

In  Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, on tanzaku small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, with other decorations. My son wrote that he wanted to become good at riding his new bycycle, other typical things that children write is that they want to be shinkansen drivers and girls often write that they want to have their own flower shop. Men and women write things relating to work, love etc.

Below is the tanabatta song with the English translation.

Sasa no ha sara-sara Nokiba ni yureru Ohoshi-sama kira-kira Kingin sunago

Translation:

The bamboo leaves rustle, rustle,
shaking away in the eaves.
The stars go twinkle, twinkle;
Gold and silver grains of sand.

 

The story behind tanabatta

Tanabatta was inspired by a chinese folklore The Princess and the Cowherd

Orihime ( Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei ( Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa ( Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it.

hanging the boys wish
However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi ( Cow Herder Star) (also referred to as Kengyuu who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if Orihime worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.

 I took these photos at Hatamono shrine near Osaka but the largest Tanabata festival in Japan is held in Sendai

jennjeff1 says:
Where is the review of the Belgian Beer Fest at the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Chris?!?!?!? ;)
Posted on: Jul 07, 2012
ellechic says:
Awww.. Shucks
Posted on: Jul 07, 2009
reikunboy says:
Unfortunately the decorations would be pulled down today.
Posted on: Jul 07, 2009
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decorations on bambbo trees
decorations on bambbo trees
hanging the boys wish
hanging the boys wish
mother helping the boy hang his wi…
mother helping the boy hang his w…
this boy wants to be a shinkansen …
this boy wants to be a shinkansen…
wishes
wishes
a women hanging her wish
a women hanging her wish
a girl in yukata
a girl in yukata