Japan has many festivals that are expected by many Japanese and foreigners. The Tanabata Matsuri, which is also known as the Festival of Stars, and even as the Festival of the Seventh Night, is one of the most anticipated of the summer, famous for the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi and their tanzaku decorations.
The festival takes place on the seventh night of the seventh month of the year, starting on the 7th of July and extending until August, but this date varies with the region and country where it is being celebrated. The festival is also celebrated in China, Taiwan, Korea,
Origin of the Tanabata Matsuri Festival
The Tanabata Matsuri Festival (七夕まつり) originated in China. The festival was brought by Empress Koken in 775, having its attribution in the Imperial Palace of Kyoto, in the Heian period. Being popularized in the Edo Period, having its mix at the festival of Obon.
This festival is held across Japan on different dates during the summer, the place with the biggest celebration is in the city of Sendai, capital of Miyagi province, where more than 3000 bamboo poles are erected along the central streets, which attracts many visitors during the festival season.
Legend of origin - Orihime and Hikoboshi
The legend of the Tanabata festival consists of the love story of two stars, Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair).
“A long, long time ago, I lived near the river of stars, Amanogawa (天の que Milky Way), a princess who had the name Orihime (織姫), who was called as the“ Princess Weaver ”, because she wove beautiful clothes, however, she was always sad because she was always busy and didn't have time to fall in love.
Her father, Emperor “Tenkou-Sama (天工 Heavenly Lord)”, noticed his daughter's sadness, then introduced him to a young boy, who was called “Hikoboshi (彦星 Prince Shepherd)”, because he believed that he was the ideal match for his daughter.
The two fell in love, and from that moment on, their lives revolved around love, so that they let go of their daily chores and obligations.
The Heavenly Lord, saddened by the couple's irresponsibility, decided to separate them, forcing them to live on opposite sides of the Milky Way.
Allowing them to meet only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, as long as they fulfilled their obligations.
Thus, every year, on this date, from the mouth of the Milky Way, a boatman from the moon takes Orihime to meet his beloved, Hikoboshi. Although, in case the princess did not perform her duties in the best possible way, the Heavenly Lord caused it to rain, flooding the river and preventing the boatman from coming to get her.
On these occasions, Kasasagi (group of birds), helped the princess to cross the river, forming a bird bridge over the Milky Way. ”
Tanzaku - Tanabata Decoration
One of the decorations and acts that are made in Tanabata Matsuri, which contains great symbolism, is Tanzaku (短冊).
It is tradition that on the day of the Festival, people write wishes in small notes, and that at the end they put the tickets tied in bamboo. This custom started in 1818.
Tanzaku tickets have the following colors and meanings:
- White (peace)
- Yellow (money)
- Green (hope)
- Red passion)
- Rose (love)
- Blue (protection of the skies)
At the end of the celebration, the tickets are burned, with the purpose that the wishes reach the skies. So that according to the legend, the stars Altair and Vega can fulfill their wishes.
Song of Tanabata Matsuri
There is a song from the festival that all children learn at school, the lyrics are as follows:
|Sasa no ha sara-sara|
Nokiba ni yureru
Kin Gin sunago
Goshiki no tanzaku
Watashi ga kaita
Sora kara miteru
|The bamboo leaves, murmur, murmur,|
Shaking your ends
The stars shine, shine,
Like gold and silver dust
On long, colorful papers,
I wrote (my wishes)
The stars shine, shine,
Watching from the sky
Tanabata Matsuri in Japan
There are several Tanabata Festivals in Japan, each city takes place on a different date. You can't present a list with the exact date, because things can change. For this reason, we will leave a list with the names of the festivals, city and month.
It usually happens on the sixth or seventh day of the month, or the entire first week. It is best to search the official website of the city in question. Just search for the name of the event that I will leave in Japanese, so you can find the exact date and location.
|Festival||Japanese name||City / Province||Month|
|Mobara Festival||茂原七夕まつり||Mobara, Chiba||July|
|Hodachi Tanabata Chirico Festival||宝立七夕キリコ祭り||Hodachi-cho, Suzu, Ishikawa||August|
|Taira Festival||平七夕まつり||Taira, Iwaki, Fukushima||August|
|Fussa Festival||福生七夕まつり||Fussa, Tokyo||August|
|Oyama at Tanabata Nagare||尾山の七夕流し||Oyama, Kurobe, Toyama||August|
|Hachinohe Tanabata Festival||八戸七夕まつり||Hachinohe, Aomori||July|
|Noshiro Nebunagashi (Nodoka Festival)||能代役七夕（能代ねぶながし）||Noshiro, Akita||August|
|Tanabata River Iruma Festival||入間川七夕まつり||Sayama, Saitama||August|
|Tsuchiura Kirara Festival||土浦キララまつり||Tsuchiura, Ibaraki||August|
|Festival Oita||大分七夕まつり||Oita, Oita||August|
|Maebashi Festival||前橋七夕まつり||Maebashi, Gunma||July|
|Sendai Festival||仙台七夕まつり||Sendai, Miyagi||August|
|Morioka Festival||盛岡七夕まつり||Morioka, Iwate||August|
|Shimizu Festival||清水七夕まつり||Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka, Shizuoka||July|
|Metropolis Water Festival||水都まつり||Ogaki, Gifu||August|
|Festival Mito Kinmon (festival)||水戸黄門まつり||Myth, Ibaraki||August|
|Fukaya Festival||深谷七夕まつり||Fukaya, Saitama||July|
|Kamifukuoka Festival||上福岡七夕まつり||Kamifukuoka, Fujimino, Saitama||August|
|Shonan Hiratsuka Festival||湘南ひらつか七夕まつり||Hiratsuka, Kanagawa||July|
|Matsusaka Festival||松阪七夕まつり||Matsusaka, Mie||August|
|Ogawamachi Festival||小川町七夕まつり||Ogawamachi, Saitama||July|
|Funami Festival||舟見七夕まつり||Funami, Nyuzen, Toyama||July|
|Shrine Summer Festival||七夕神社夏祭り||Ogori, Fukuoka||July|
|Painting Lantern Festival||七夕絵どうろうまつり||Yuzawa, Akita||August|
|Launch of the Tanabata Balloon||七夕バルーンリリース||Tokushima, Tokushima||July|
|Yamaguchi Tanabata Lantern Festival||山口七夕ちょうちんまつり||Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi||August|
|Miki-machi Festival Ikenobe Tanabata||三木町いけのべ七夕まつり||Miki, Kagawa||August|
|Takaoka Tanabata Festival||高岡七夕まつり||Takaoka, Toyama||August|
|Tanabata de Toede Festival||戸出七夕まつり||Toede-machi, Takaoka, Toyama||July|
|Furumachi Tanabata Festival||古町七夕まつり||Furumachi, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Niigata||July|
|Keio University Tanabata SFC Festival||慶應義塾大学SFC七夕祭||Fujisawa, Kanagawa||July|
|Kiryu Yagi-bushi Festival||桐生八木節まつり||Kiryu, Gunma||August|
|Hashimoto Festival||橋本七夕まつり||Midori-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa||August|
|Tanabata Festival at Osaka Shrine||機物神社七夕まつり||Katano, Osaka||July|
|Tanabata Festival in central Tokyo||下町七夕まつり||Taito Ward, Tokyo||July|
|Endoji Festival||円頓寺七夕まつり||Nagoya, Aichi||July|
|Echigo-Murakami Festival||越後村上七夕祭||Murakami, Niigata||August|
|Ichinomiya Festival||一宮七夕まつり||Ichinomiya, Aichi||July|
|Angel Festival||安城七夕まつり||Angel, Aichi||August|
|Asaya Festival||阿佐谷七夕まつり||Asaya, Suginami-ku, Tokyo||August|
|Festival of the Seven Nettles||けんか七夕まつり||Kesen-cho, Rikuzentakata, Iwate||August|
|Ugoku Tanabata Festival||うごく七夕まつり||Rikuzentakata, Iwate||August|
Tanabata Matsuri in Brazil
In Brazil, the festival of the Stars was held for the first time in the city of Assaí in the State of Paraná in 1978. Then the event started to be held annually in Bairro da Liberdade, in the city of São Paulo. Usually in Brazil, the festival takes place on the 7th and 8th of July.
Nowadays, the festival is held in many other Brazilian cities, such as Santo André and Ribeirão Preto, Araraquara and ABC. Having a typical colorful decoration, presentations, folk dances and even shows.