TANABATA - 7 July - Japanese ritual to make a wish

7th July - Tanabata festival.

One of my favourite Japanese traditional festivals and ancient rituals since I was a little girl. 

It's romantic, exciting, creative and intimate.

We connect to nature, season and universe. 


Today is the day to make wishes.

Write your wishes on nice coloured papers (origami) , it can be a poem (Haiku) and decorate the bamboo trees with your own creation. 


Go wild and be with your wildest dream.

Let your thoughts out.

Let your dreams out.

Let your wishes seen by the shining stars in the fresh summer sky, 


Well, I am going to share the story behind this romantic rituals and Tanabata festival today.


On the 7th July in Japan, we celebrate Tanabata festival, known as start festival, one of the five traditional festivals to welcome the change of the seasons, do rituals of making offerings and wish for a good harvest, good health, and good life.


It has been taking place since the ancient time, recorded in the Heian period, the 9th century.


It originates from China. A romantic folk tale of lovers who can only meet once a year on the night of 7 July over the Milky Way.

傑作『月百姿』より「銀河月」(月岡芳年 画)
傑作『月百姿』より「銀河月」(月岡芳年 画)


Once upon a time, in the world of stars, there was a loving couple, Princess Orihime (the weaver, Vega) and Hikoboshi (the cowherd, Altair). As they were madly in love, they became less productive with their work and Princess's father Tentei (Kind of stars) got angry and separated them by the Milky Way. But they were allowed to meet once a year by the bridge made by magpies over the Milky Way on the 7th July.


If it is a clear day, we may perhaps see their encounter on the summer sky….


I am a romantic being and love this story.


Perhaps you can hold hands together with your loved one and appreciate the moment they can be together.


Here is a ritual accompanied by this folk tale.


In ancient Japan, the ladies were making an offering and write a wish to improve the skills for "weaving" on the 7th July, related to Shinto tradition.


Later the wishes were made for all kinds of skills to improve, and any other wishes in life and the wishes were written in the form of a poem on colored paper. "Tanzaku".



Photo by OiMax
Photo by OiMax

In the evening, we wear Yukata, summer cotton kimono and enjoy the evening with the decorated bamboo trees with summer dishes such as ice cold Somen noodles.


Even in this modern Japan, we practice our ancient daily and seasonal rituals and celebrate the seasonal event with festivals, rooted in the principle of Shinto and Buddhism, not as a religion, but as a philosophy of life. 


To create harmony within ourselves, with nature and with our surrounding is the unspoken law of the Japanese society.


My wishes and poems....
My wishes and poems....

I love these moments given to think what we wish or what we want to achieve in life.


My summer started with "Tanabata" festival on the 7 July.



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