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Monday, July 08, 2013

Japan: Tanabata

Tanabata, also known as the star festival, is usually celebrated on July 7, although some parts of the country celebrate on a different day, often in August. For this festival, people write their dreams and wishes on narrow pieces of colorful paper and tie them to a bamboo branch. These branches can be small ones in the home bought especially for the occasion; or ones in parks and shrines across the country. The trees are often decorated with streamers and paper link chains. Many shopping areas decorate for the holiday and there are festivals all over the country.

Tanabata came from China and has a folklore story related to it. There are several variations of the story but the basic version goes like this: a weaver princess named Orihime fell in love with a cow herder names Hikoboshi. Both of them lived in the sky. After marriage the two were so in love they neglected their jobs. Orihime's father the king was furious and separated them with a river called the Milky Way. Orihime was despondent over the loss of her lover. Her father felt bad for her and agreed that they could meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. But if it's rainy, the two lovers must wait another year to meet again.


  1. I love reading about other cultures and the history behind their customs. Thanks, Cody!