Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Star Festival

Star Festival, Tanabata in Japanese is on July 7th. It is not a notional holiday but we love this festival.

This festival is based on this story below which I extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata.

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.
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’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she 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.


Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet only once a year. That's kind of sad! And if it rains, they can't meet!
When I was an elementary school student, I really believed this story and my friends and I prayed hard for the good weather.
However, there was always a little mature student who told us that the Milky Way was over the clouds so it never rained although it rained here. I still remember how shocked I was!



This photo is from Wishes for the Star Festival.
For this day, we write our wishes on the paper and hung it from bamboos. When Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet on this day, July 7th, we believe our wises also come true like their wishes come true.
Now I can see many bamboos and blank paper everywhere like stations and supermarkets. We are free to write and hung our wishes. Usually children love to do it but I can't resist doing it.

Although I know it never rains over the clouds, I hope it's sunny on July 7th and they can meet happily!