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Japanese Culture and Traditions: July

 

The topic of July is

"TANABATA" or "The Star Festival"

 

tanabata

 

The Star Festival, which is said to be a combination of Chinese tradition with beliefs peculiar to Japan. This festival celebrates the meeting, just once a year, of two lovers, Kengyu (the star Altair, personified as a cowherd) and Shokujo (Vega, as a weaving girl), who are separated by the Milky Way on the other days of the year. Pieces of bamboo are set up in the garden and adorned with strips of paper of five different colors on which are written poems associated with the legend, and offerings of food, such as corn and eggplant, are made. Also, young girls pray that their handicraft will become as proficient as Vega's was supposed to be.