Tanabata = たなばた (one of the cutest festivals in Japan)

Tanabata (the star festival) happens on the 7th day of the 7th month every year. Tanabata celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). A river (the milky way), separates the two lovers, and they are permitted only to meet on this very special night (the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunisolar calendar).

What do people do during Tanabata?

One popular custom is for people to write their hopes and wishes on small strips of colored paper and hand them from specially erected bamboo plants.

The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day. There is also a traditional Tanabata song:

Sasa no ha sara-sara (笹の葉 さらさら)
Nokiba ni yureru (軒端にゆれる)
Ohoshi-sama kira-kira (お星様 キラキラ)
Kingin sunago (金銀砂子)

...in English:

The bamboo leaves rustle, rustle,
shaking away in the eaves.
The stars go twinkle, twinkle;
Gold and silver grains of sand.

Large-scale Tanabata festivals are held in many places in Japan, mainly along shopping malls and streets, which are decorated with large, colorful streamers.

Here is a picture from the Sendai festival...


  1. That last picture is so pretty! I've done a good amount of traveling, but I've never been to Japan. I've seen a good amount about it on TV, and the fashion sense in Tokyo always made me wanna visit, lol. And of course, I've always wanted to try authentic sushi. :)


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