Tanabata (July seventh, in Japan) is a holiday that originated in China (long, long ago!) and now is also celebrated in other Asian countries like Japan. In Japan, people hang their wishes on branches of bamboo. (Bamboo is plentiful in Japan.)
The photo above is from last year. Every year my Friday Japanese teachers organize a Tanabata celebration. ありがとう、せんせい！
Thank you to my teachers.
The photo above was taken last year in Sendai City. Sendai holds a huge Tanabata festival every summer–but it is in August. Why is it in August and not July?
Years ago, Japan used a different calendar system and Tanabata fell in August. In the 1800’s, Japan switched over to the western calendar, and thus many holidays (like January first–New Year’s Day and July seventh–Tanabata) were changed to correspond with the western calendar. However, many people will still use the old calendar, thus making the holidays approximately a month later.
(This is also the reason why Chinese people celebrate their New Year Festival some time in February, but Japanese people celebrate it January first.)
This is Fukushima City train station.
The above photo is from years ago in Comu Comu, a place for kids in Fukushima City.
Tanabata is a fun festival because we can write down whatever we want! The wish can be selfish, silly, or philanthropic. You can sign your name, but you don’t have to.
We can read the wishes that are on the branches if they are in public locations. Some wishes will make you cry! And many are by children and quite funny.
What am I wishing for this summer?
My philanthropic wish: I wish for world happiness.
My silly wish: I wish that the stray cat that hangs around our house would let me touch her! (Instead of staying always at a distance.)
My selfish wish: I want to get my manuscript published!