Tanabata or the Star festival
Tanabata, or Star Festival, is traditionally held on the evening of the 7 July in Japan, but can continue throughout August. This year we are celebrating Tanabata day at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in the Family Activity Rooms on Saturday from 1-4pm.
The Festival traces its origins to a romantic legend that the Weaver Star (Vega) and the Cowherd Star (Altair), had been separated by a god of the sky, called 'Tentei', and only permitted to reunite once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month.
According to legend, the two stars fell in love and married but were cast apart by the bride's angry father, because the bride was so much in love that she neglected her weaving of shoes or cloth.
The annual celebrations involve people, especially children, making paper chains, lanterns and writing wishes on long strips of colourful paper (tanzaku). The paper decorations are hung outdoors on bamboo branches (sasa) in their back gardens or entrances to their homes. Having written their wishes they then pray hard in the hope that they come true. It is thought that the same celestial forces, which reunite Vega and Altair, can also grant wishes.
Join us for an afternoon with the Japan Society, North West and make wish strips, try origami and dress up in kimonos for free with your loved ones.