Today is 七夕 (Tanabata)…which translates to something like “Seventh evening“.
You can read a little bit about this holiday on my website’s FAQ page.
This holiday came to Japan from China and falls on the seventh day of the seventh month…July 7 on the Western calendar (which Japan uses now), or in late August if you use the Chinese calendar.
Most of Japan celebrates this holiday on July 7…but some cities celebrate it on the date according to the Chinese calendar.
Basically, the story of 七夕 (Tanabata) is that there are a couple of stars on different sides of the sky and they are a couple in love…and the only day in the year that these two stars are near each other is on the seventh day of the seventh month.
So, on this day the couple’s wish comes true and they can be together…for an evening.
For this reason, 七夕 (Tanabata) is sometimes called “The Star Festival“.
I’m not sure how 七夕 (Tanabata) is celebrated in China, but here in Japan people write a wish on a piece of paper and tie it to a bamboo tree (along with other 七夕 (Tanabata) decorations).
And just like the couple’s wish comes true…if you tie your wish to the tree, it’ll come true too.
There are also 七夕 (Tanabata) festivals all around Japan…some on July 7 and some in August.
The biggest 七夕 (Tanabata) festival on July 7 is in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.
And the biggest one in August (this year (2009), it’ll be on August 26) is in Sendai.
I have been to the 七夕 (Tanabata) festival near my house a number of times…but I didn’t go this year.
Have you ever been to a 七夕 (Tanabata) festival?
Did you tie your wish to a bamboo tree branch today?