Seventh Evening

7 Jul

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?

16 Responses to “Seventh Evening”

  1. sixmats July 9, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    I can’t wait for the Sendai Tanabata Festival. If you haven’t been, it would be worth it for you to come up on the night of the fireworks display.


    • tokyo5 July 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

      Yes, I’ve known about Sendai’s big Tanabata festival in August for years…but I’ve never gone. Sendai is so far away!

      Maybe some day.


  2. bartman905 July 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    We attended the Shonan Tanabata Star festival in Hiratsuka last weekend (need to write a blog post about it, I’m so behind).

    Last year, we wrote our wish while we were in Ginza (I have to dig out the pictures), but we didn’t do it this year, not sure why not?


    • tokyo5 July 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

      Did you go to the big Tanabata festival in Kanagawa? That’s one of the two festivals I mentioned in this post.

      And did you write a 短冊 (tanzaku) paper in Ginza? It’s like Japan’s “Fifth Avenue“!
      Must’ve been a great wish! 😉


      • bartman905 July 9, 2009 at 11:53 pm #

        Yes, we went to the one in Kanagawa which you mentioned in your post. Just published my blog post

        My wife wrote a 短冊 (tanzaku) paper in Ginza.


      • tokyo5 July 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

        Did you see the “Miss Tanabata Beauty Contest” there?

        (BTW, what’s the unusual URL for your blog?)


      • bartman905 July 10, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

        No, we didn’t see the Beauty Contest.

        The unusual URL is a “URL shortener”, the other popular one is TinyURL. It has become quite popular with the rise of Twitter, the microblogging site which limits your post to just 140 characters.


      • tokyo5 July 10, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

        I don’t use Twitter…and I never heard of a “URL shortener” before.

        Is that so it can be typed easier in a cell-phone’s browser?


      • bartman905 July 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

        You are smart … yes, less typing on a cell phone is certainly another potential use of shortened URLs.


      • tokyo5 July 14, 2009 at 12:39 am #

        What’s another use?
        That’s the only one I could imagine.


  3. cuteandcurls July 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Ive heard about Tanabata from my friends in Japan and ^_^ funnily enough from most of the anime I’ve been watching ^_^ Did you and your family had a nice celebration of the festival yesterday?


    • tokyo5 July 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

      Do they show Tanabata in Japanese anime often? I don’t watch much anime, so I’ve never noticed.

      >Did you and your family had a nice celebration of the festival yesterday?

      We didn’t do anything special for Tanabata this year.


      • cuteandcurls July 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

        Some of the anime i watched they do like for instance Chibi Maruko Chan


      • tokyo5 July 8, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

        I like Chibi Maruko-chan…and Tanabata sounds like something they’d show on that cartoon.

        Actually, Chibi Maruko-chan, Sazae-san, Doraemon, and Crayon Shin Chan and others like that show regular Japanese life…I wonder how they translate the “in Japan only” things in those shows into other languages when they show those cartoons overseas.


  4. Prasoon July 8, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    I hung my wish in the Tokyo Tower last year to a bamboo tree which was placed inside there 🙂


    • tokyo5 July 8, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

      You made a Tanabata wish at Tokyo Tower?
      Did it come true?


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