NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

2007/2/19

七夕 Tanabata Tanabata

Jp En


Tanabata is a star festival held on 7th July and is one of Japan's five seasonal festivals.

The origin of the festival is supposed to be a Chinese festival called 'Kitsukoden', when people prayed for their advance in needlework and performing arts. Another legend says that the 7th day of the 7th month is the only day of the year when Vega (the weaver girl star) and Altair (the cowherd boy star) are allowed to meet each other. There is also a Japanese legend called Tanabatatsume about a weaver for a god. These legends mixed together to form Tanabata, which then became an important event in the imperial court.

In the Edo period, Tanabata spread to the commoners and took on its present form. Today, people write wishes on oblong cards and decorate bamboo branches. Even after Japan adopted the Western calendar, in many districts Tanabata is still held on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar.

Today there are many Tanabata festivals. Sendai Tanabata held in Miyagi Prefecture and Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata held in Kanagawa Prefecture are very popular as the biggest Tanabata festivals in the country.

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