23 June, 2011

Tanabata - Star Festival

Tanabata is a Japanese tradition wherein people write their secret wish on tanzaku papers (colorful, small strips of papers) and hang them on bamboo branches. People also decorate bamboo branches with various kinds of paper decorations and place them outside their houses. The most common Tanabata decorations are colorful streamers which are said to symbolize the weaving of threads. Other tanabata decorations are toami (a casting net) which means good luck for fishing and farming and kinchaku (a hand bag), which means wealth.

Tanabata, which literally means the night of the seventh, originated more than 2,000 years ago with an old Chinese tale called Kikkoden. "Once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space. After they met, they played all the time and forgot about their jobs. The king was angry with them and separated them to opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way). The king allowed them to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Japanese lunar calendar. It's believed that Orihime and Hikoboshi can't see each other if the day is rainy, so people pray for good weather and also make wishes for them".

Tanabata is celebrated in Japan on July 7th (the seventh day of the seventh month), and it's also known as the Star Festival . Many cities and towns hold Tanabata festivals - people often light lanterns and float them on the river. Sometimes they float bamboo leaves and in some regions, people set colourful Tanabata displays along the main streets - its fun to walk through the long streamers floating gracefully in the summer sky.

Please write your secret wish on tanzaku paper and we will hang it from our bamboo tree.
Thank you for celebrating Tanabata with us at Ten Japanese Restaurant - we hope your secret wish comes true.

Cheers Wendy,

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