Tanabata is a Japanese festival that celebrates the coming together of two stars, called Orihime and Hikoboshi, who can only meet once a year.
Tanabata , meaning “Evening of the seventh”, also known as the Star Festival, celebrates the meeting of the gods Orihime (the weaver girl) and Hikoboshi (the shepherd boy), represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively. According to legend, the lovers are banished to separate sides of the Milky Way, and allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on 7 July of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August. [thanks to wiki].
In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku, small pieces of paper, and hanging them on as bamboo wish tree called as ‘sasadake’, sometimes with other decorations. “Japan Centre” [on this blog here] in Panton Street has its own good blog.
In 2018 celebrations in London seem modest : –
see the tanzaku, Hiragana writing system [blue] た な ば た = TA_NA_BA_TA. Kanji writing system [green, bottom] 寿 司 = sushi
Tanabata at ‘Wasabi’ , Kensington High Street. わ さ び = WA_SA_BI
In 2017 Tanabata was celebrated in style over 2 days at Kew Gardens – as here.
The Embassy of Japan, alongside Japan Society, Kew Gardens and Japan House London, held a special 2 day event in August 2017 full of performances, activities, and talks to mark this ancient festival.
The Tanabata story is told here: