July 7, 2007

7th July is Tanabata Festival

7th of July is Tanabata festival in Japan. It is a celebration of star. According to a Chinese legend, the two stars Altair and Vega, which are usually separated from each other by the milky way. 7th July is the only day where these two stars are able to meet. One popular Tanabata custom is to write one's wishes on a piece of paper, and hang that piece of paper on a specially erected bamboo tree, in the hope that the wishes become true.

Tanabata originated more than 2,000 years ago with an old Chinese tale called Kikkoden. Once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space. After they got together, they were playing all the time and forgot their jobs. The king was angry at them and separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way). The king allowed them to meet only once a year on July 7th. This is why tanabata is also called the Star Festival. People say that Orihime and Hikoboshi can't meet each other if July 7th is rainy, so they pray for good weather and also make wishes for themselves.

Nowadays, Tanabata is a colorful festivals that are held across Japan in early July and August. Among the biggest and most famous ones are the Tanabata Festivals of Sendai in August and Hiratsuka near Tokyo in July.

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