The Tanabata Festival is a celebration in Japan, held every year on July 7th. According to the calendar used in Japan (the tempo calender / Tempōreki), Tanabata is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month before the celebration of Obon. But in the eastern part of Japan, such as Hokkaido and Sendai, the celebration is a month later, around August 8th. According to the original Japanese legend, the festival comes from the story of Tanabata-Tsume in the book of Kojiki. This story tells of a female waitress (miko) called Tanabata-Tsume, who must weave clothes for a god on the bank of the river. This is done so that she can become the wife of the god overnight, in order to avoid disaster to the village. In addition to coming from the legend, the Tanabata festival itself also has another purpose, namely to pray to ancestors because it is believed to be successful harvest. In antiquity, when the Tanabata celebration arrives, usually the women begged the ancestors to make them experts in sewing and playing musical instruments, while the men asked to be more proficient in writing. The celebration is held royally with a wide range of activities, such as:
• Writing Request
The tradition of writing request on tanzaku (colorful pieces of paper) is an ancient tradition that has been held since the Edo period. Tanzaku paper consists of five colors (green, red, yellow, white, and black). Requests written on tanzaku can vary with each person.
• Tanzaku tied to bamboo
Tanzaku that containing a wide range of requests tied to the branches of bamboo leaves, called the “tree of hope”, on the 6th day of the 7th month. Many people believe that by tying tanzaku to the tree of hope, all the hope that is written will come true. People who live near the sea have different traditions, in which they float the tree of hope to sea as a sign of feast. However, this tradition is now increasingly abandoned, because many ornaments are made of plastic and feared to damage the marine ecosystem.
If you visit Japan during the Tanabata Festival, do not forget to visit Sendai city, because the city is the largest city in Japan where Tanabata is celebrated. Various traditional and modern events enliven the festival. In the evening fireworks display will be held, and the best place to see is in the area around the River Hirose and Nishi Park. In addition, various Tanabata decorations will adorn a very lively in all the way of Jozenji-dori. Do not forget to taste some typical culinary of Tanabata festival like takoyaki, hashimaki, yakitori, and tanabata somen. Some of those foods can be found in all the food stalls in the Sendai city or along the road in the city of Sendai, because at the time of the celebration of Tanabata most main roads were closed and used to sell food, drinks, and souvenirs.
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