The 7th day of July could be a typical day on the calendar of the majority of people; however, not in Japan. This day (sometimes in August) is an important holiday when locals commemorate Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival.
The Tanabata celebration located in Japan is celebrated to remember the romance involving two lovebirds. Remarkably, the two lovers do not exist as humans but are the two stars, Vega and Altair.
Find out everything you need to know concerning this year’s Tanabata Festival in Japan, its history, and other information.
What is Tanabata?
Tanabata is the name given to a romance between two stars that meet only each year once, as it is good skies. Tanabata is observed in full energy at the seventh lunar month, the 7th day of July in the present calendar.
A few regions in Japan celebrate this holiday in August, the 7th day of each year. This is based on the traditional Chinese calendar. The legend is believed to have come from the same place.
What is the Story behind Japan’s Star Festival?
The legend says that Princess Orihime is a weaver that created beautiful fabric along the magnificent river called the Milky Way. When the princess was spending the majority of her day weaving, she began to feel depressed. Her sadness turned to anxiety and worries about never finding love.
Her father, the God of the Heavens, had a clue about an attractive young man living in the Milky Way. The handsome man Hikoboshi was a farmer. The story goes on to reveal that both the princess and the herder fell in love with each other at first glance. Their love for one another was so passionate that they strayed from their duty. Orihime stopped weaving while Hikoboshi’s cows continued roaming around in the heavens.
The indifference of the two lovers irritated their God in the Heavens. So, he commanded both lovers to never be in a relationship. But, he was the father of the princess and had a deep affection for her daughter. To ensure that she was content, he came up with arrangements. In accordance with this arrangement, the two lovers could get together once per year if she returned to weave. It was the 7th day month.
The long-awaited day finally arrived. However, it turned out that the Milky Way needed to be easier to traverse for the two. The magpies observed the sadness of her princess in a horde. To show their compassion, they built a bridge she could traverse and reunite with her only love. According to folklore that when the weather is bad on Tanabata, the magpies do not appear, and lovers wait another year for their reunion.
This summer tradition is celebrated with enthusiasm by everyone of all ages.
The Traditional Symbols of Tanabata
Tanabata is a holiday with a lot of customs. The long, thin strip of colorful paper is a major and famous festival symbol. They are also known as Tanzaku. With origami and ornaments, these paper streamers are suspended on bamboo branches. Bamboo poles are used in urban settings to decorate stores, train stations, and other public areas.
Bamboo decorations are essential for the occasion. Because its roots are strong, Bamboo is believed to be a sign of strength and vitality. Bamboo grows very quickly, and it is thought that the hollow walls of Bamboo permit Gods to live inside.
In the olden days, people would write their wishes in the Tanzaku and tie them to the tree’s trunk and branches of Bamboo. The bamboo plant gets taller. It is believed that the wishes will lead to heaven, causing gods to grant you wishes and ward off negative spirits.
Tanabata is further distinguished by other decorations that have been used for centuries. Kinchaku bags symbolize prosperity, and cranes folded like Orizuru represent endurance.
Wishes During Tanabata
The love festival is a great time to find wish cards containing poetry, illustrations, and even lyrics that contain witty wishes. They are a source of color and light to the event, encouraging everyone to believe in the best tomorrow.
Locations of the Festival
The festival is observed throughout Japan. Japan is a colorful scene in all areas, from shopping malls to the public street and many places. There are stalls outdoors where food is sold, Carnival games, parades, and hosting many other occasions.
The biggest celebration of the festival is Sendai Tanabata Matsuri carried out in Miyagi Prefecture. It begins on the 6th and runs through August 8. It commences with spectacular fireworks.
Some other locations that celebrate this festival offer their version of customs. The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata matsuri celebration is a great time to perform dance and music. Osaka takes part in this celebration with the city recreating the Milky Way and floating various blue lights along the Okawa River. In certain regions of Japan, it also has parades held, and other areas host spectacular fireworks.
Foods for the Festival
Alongside being the event of the stars and love, The Tanabata Festival is famous for its tasty food. Food stalls called Yatai offer delicious and sweet street food throughout the country.
Cold noodles are one of the most loved foods of the Tanabata season. The long and thin noodles symbolize what is known as the Milky Way, and Orihime weaves the threads. They are beautifully presented and are served with a delicious dip sauce. They are sometimes served with star-shaped slices of cooked okra. This is especially appropriate for children.
Some other delicacies enjoyed during the festival are Takoyaki, also known as octopus balls. They’re fried dough balls filled with octopus chunks. Some other dishes are Yakitori, or grilling chicken, cooked with salt and sauce.
Kids can be seen having fun eating Okonomiyaki which is a savory pancake. The dessert’s toppings and ingredients differ from region to region. Yakisoba, or stir-fried noodles made that are filled with vegetables and meat, is served with an amazing sauce.
Overall, The Tanabata celebration is filled in various ways and with great intensity across Japan. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience this beautiful festival if you reside located in Japan at the same time of the year.
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