The Tanabata Festival is a beloved summer tradition in Japan that celebrates the day of two star-crossed lovers from Chinese mythology. On this day, people write their wishes on strips of colorful paper and hang them from bamboo trees, with the hope that their wishes will come true.

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What is Tanabata?

Paper ornaments in Asagaya Tanabata Festival (Source: http://www.asagaya.or.jp)

Tanabata, also known as the “Star Festival”, which translates to “evening of the seventh”, is celebrated every year on July 7th, or August 7th depending on the region. The festival’s origins can be traced back over two thousand years to Chinese mythology. According to legend, the two lovers, Orihime, the goddess of weaving, and Hikoboshi, the god of the stars, were separated by the Milky Way. On the seventh day of the seventh month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge across the river, allowing the two lovers to be reunited.



Differences between Tanabata and Valentine’s Day

Tanabata and Valentine’s Day are two separate holidays celebrated in different parts of the world.

Tanabata is a traditional Japanese festival observed on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It celebrates the reunion of two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are separated by the Milky Way. People write their wishes on tanzaku (small pieces of paper) and hang them on bamboo branches.

Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, is celebrated in many countries around the world on February 14th. It is a day dedicated to expressing love and appreciation for one another. Common symbols include red hearts, cards, flowers, and candy. People exchange gifts to show their affection for one another.


What do people do in Tanabata?

During the festival, people create decorations, such as colorful streamers and paper ornaments, and hang them from bamboo trees in their homes and in public spaces. They also write their wishes on strips of colorful paper and hang them from the trees, with the hopes that their wishes will come true.


Traditional Food of Tanabata

People eat soba noodles in Tanabata.

The traditional foods eaten during Tanabata are symbolic of luck and good fortune. Soba noodles are a popular dish during the festival, representing the Milky Way and the separation of the two lovers. Mochi, small rice cakes filled with sweet red bean paste, are believed to bring good luck. Cherry blossoms represent hope and beauty, while shiruko, a red bean soup, is thought to bring prosperity and abundance. By eating these dishes, people are said to be blessed with good fortune.


How to Experience Tanabata Festival in Japan

The Tanabata Festival is a great way to experience the unique culture of Japan. As July and August are the busiest months for the festival, it is best to plan ahead and book a hotel well in advance to ensure you get the best possible experience. You will be able to view the decorations and write your wishes, as well as enjoy the traditional foods that are associated with the festival.

The Asagaya Tanabata Festival is an annual event held in the Asagaya district of Tokyo. The event is held in the summer, usually in July or August. During the festival, people gather to decorate the streets with Tanabata ornaments, such as colorful streamers, paper decorations, and lanterns.

Japanese will write their wishes on strips of paper in Tanabata Festival.

They also write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them on bamboo branches. To add to the celebration, many people dress up in traditional kimonos and enjoy different types of Tanabata food, such as sushi and mochi. The event culminates with a fireworks display in the night sky. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and a perfect way to celebrate Tanabata.


Bottom Line

No matter where you are in Japan, the Tanabata Festival is sure to be a memorable and unique experience. From the colorful decorations to the delicious treats, it is a great way to experience the country’s culture and customs. So don’t forget to pack your wishes and head to Japan to experience the Tanabata Festival!


FAQ

What is Tanabata celebrating for?

Tanabata, also known as the “Star Festival”, which translates to “evening of the seventh”, is celebrated every year on July 7th or August 7th depending on the region. The festival’s origins can be traced back over two thousand years to Chinese mythology. According to legend, the two lovers, Orihime, the goddess of weaving, and Hikoboshi, the god of the stars, were separated by the Milky Way. On the seventh day of the seventh month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge across the river, allowing the two lovers to be reunited.

What do people do in Tanabata?

During the festival, people create decorations, such as colorful streamers and paper ornaments, and hang them from bamboo trees in their homes and in public spaces. They also write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them from the trees, with the hopes that their wishes will come true.

What traditional food is eaten in Tanabata?

The traditional foods eaten during Tanabata are symbolic of luck and good fortune. Soba noodles are a popular dish during the festival, representing the Milky Way and the separation of the two lovers. Mochi, small rice cakes filled with sweet red bean paste, are believed to bring good luck. Cherry blossoms represent hope and beauty, while shiruko, a red bean soup, is thought to bring prosperity and abundance.

What is the difference between Tanabata and Valentine’s Day?

Tanabata is a traditional Japanese festival observed on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It celebrates the reunion of two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are separated by the Milky Way. Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, is celebrated on February 14th and is dedicated to expressing love and appreciation for one another.

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