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Happy Tanabata, everyone!

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posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 11:42 PM
It's July 7 (7/7), which means its time for Tanabata again in Japan. This is one of my favorite Japanese holidays.myhtological stories, and rather romantic. The story (reproduced below) strikes me as quite moving, at least.

These days, train stations, hotels, etc. set up clusters of bamboo for this event, and slips of paper. You write a wish on the paper and attach it to the bamboo. I'm not sure how exactly this connects with the story of Tanabata, but its a nice ritual in its own right.

A bit about Tanabata:

Tanabata is a Japanese star festival, derived from the Chinese star festival, Qi Xi...

It celebrates the meeting of [the stars] Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. Since the stars come out at night, the celebration is held at night.


Orihime ("Weaving Princess...wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川, Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi ("Cow Herder Star"?) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter.

However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if Orihime worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.


More at source

posted on Jul, 8 2009 @ 06:56 AM
Happy Tanabata to you too SilentThunder!

Thanks for the info on the rituals, and the story itself. I didn't know anything aobut this festival or its roots. Seems like the tale might dovetail nicely with other cultural ideas about stars, planets , gods.


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