Tanabata (Star Festival) is a tradition that was borrowed originally from the Chinese long, long, long ago. (It was adopted by Japan in 755 A.D. according to Wikipedia.) It falls on July seventh according to the modern calendar. (But traditionally it fell in August, which is why you may still see decorations during August in Japan.)
The story of Tanabata is: Two lovers are kept apart all year but can meet in the Milky Way on this one night. The full story is here: http://webjapan.org/kidsweb/folk/tanabata/index.html
The two lovers are called Orihime and Hikoboshi. Their stars are Vega and Altair.
These Tanabata decorations are in a local grocery store.
They have paper and pens available so shoppers can write their wish and attach it to the bamboo. (This is especially popular with kids.)
This sign says “Tanabata”
In yellow, it is in kanji: 七夕
To the left of that, in white, it is is written in hiragana. たなばた This is so that people (especially children) who can’t read kanji can use the hiragana to read the kanji.
Hiragana is similar to the alphabet–it’s quite easy to read.
This says, “Write your wish on the paper and decorate!”
I didn’t want to take a photo of a very personal type wish (or one with a name attached.) I chose a very typical wish.
This person wishes:
“I would like to get 100 points on my test!!” Other wishes are for peace, health, family. Lots of school-related wishes (good grades.)
I personally enjoy Tanabata because the decorations are so pretty. And who doesn’t like making wishes???? (I know I do!!!)