Tanabata   七夕

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Wishes hanging from a bamboo branch.

The banks of Kyoto during tanabata.

The banks of Kyoto during tanabata.

Star Festival - July 7th

Throughout the year, Japan lives up to its reputation as a country of paradoxes with religious celebrations, both ceremonial and commercial. For all visitors, it is good to know these festivals that animate the island.

In Japan, love is celebrated in July with the story of two stars. Legend has it that two stars, Vega and Altair, fell in love. But the father of Altair only allowed them to see each other on seventh day of the seventh month.

Today, the star festival is celebrated by writing wishes on tanzaku, or paper cards, and decorating them on bamboo branches. It's in this way that people hope that the stars will make their wishes come true.

For the occasion, lanterns are hung on bamboo in the streets and people often wear yukata (light cotton kimono).  

If the weather does not lend itself to seeing the stars that night, you can always look into the eyes of your soulmate...

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