Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tanabata Star Festival

On July 7th, it is the star festival, called Tanabata, in Japan. There are apparently a few versions of the story behind this festival but it goes something like this: the daughter of the sky king was a weaver and weaved beautiful cloth but because she worked so hard, she couldn't meet any one or fall in love. The sky king arranged for his daughter to meet a cow herder -they met, fell in love and got married. After they were married they forgot to do their work so cows were roaming around and she stopped weaving. The sky king got angry and separated them. His daughter was very upset and cried a lot and so the sky king agreed that they could meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month. The problem is, if it rains they cannot meet and must wait another year.
For Tanabata, people write their wishes on paper and hang them from bamboo along with other decorations-it really can be beautiful!


Anonymous said...

Sounds familiar. There is another version, Chinese perspective. Deities are not allowed to fall in love and so happens one of the 7 daughters of the Jade Emperor I think was in disguise one day for reasons I can't remember and they fell in love with a cow herder, married him and then was caught. She must return to live in the heavens where she belonged with a condition that they're allowed to meet on one day per year on a bridge built by birds, as in birds forming a bridge. Prayers are held to pray that rain does not fall and ruin that one year reunion.

Aries said...

Yes it is very similar to the Chinese folks tale. Old folks used to believe that on that night when the lovers are suppose to meet, put a pail of water at your balcony etc, let the dew drop in it and use that water to make home made face powder / talcum - the result would be much better or wash your face with those water. Looks like we Chinese have a lot in common with the Japanese

Anonymous said...

Oh lovely! I wish we had such things in the Netherlands!
Happy tanabata star festival!

Anonymous said...

I suppose it is true Korean, Japanese and similar cultures do have traces back to Chinese. After all, dare I say we were once from the same descendant, despite what happened in between.

chinamommy said...

that is so cool!! I LOVE the wishes hanging in the trees... I want to come to Japan SO BAD!! In 5 years we plan to return to China so my daughter can see where she was born, I'd like to stop off in Japan at that time too!
LOVE your blog!!!

gizecraft said...

What a beautiful blog you have!
I love it!

FromJapanWithLove said...

I think they might have adapted their version from the Chinese version.

On Wednesday night (Tanabata), my junior high school students asked me to let them go outside at 8:30pm to see the stars. I'm guessing it is the time the 2 are supposed to meet. Sadly, it was cloudy so we couldn't see any stars. The problem is, now is the rainy season so I'm guessing that most years, the stars can't be seen.

Thanks for all the comments!!!

Aries-my students told me that they used to collect the dew and use it to make the ink used for calligraphy!

Chinamommy-I think you would enjoy it but I bet it will be an expensive trip travelling to both countries!!

Bentobird said...

Beautiful pictures and post, loved reading about the star festival!


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