Tanabata – Night Of Stars and Wishes

Tanabata (七夕: seven, night), the star festival, was celebrated in Japan yesterday, July 7th. The festival is also celebrated in China where it’s known as Qi xi. It honors the meeting of the gods Orihime and Hikoboshi which are represented by the stars Vega and Altair.

Legend has it that the Milky Way separates Orihime and Hikoboshi, who love each other but can’t be together because of our galaxy. The Milky Way only lets them meet once a year: the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes
Orihime and Hiroboshi separated by the Milky Way. They can only see each other in the night of Tanabata.

How Tanabata is celebrated varies depending on the part of Japan. The common factor of all these celebrations consists on hanging small papers with wishes written as poems (tanzaku 短冊) and ornaments as seen in the following photos. The traditional thing is to hang them in bamboo canes, but when not available any place is good enough.

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes
Does this dragon that grants wishes sound familiar?

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

Tanabata, night of stars and wishes

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