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Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is a special day in Japan. Every 7th day of the 7th lunar month, Japanese people would celebrate the romantic story of two lovers who only meet once a year. In the modern calendar, Tanabata falls on July 7th. See the fact file below for more information on the Tanabata Festival or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- The Tanabata Festival originated from the ancient Chinese legend known as Qixi. The story was so popular, it even reached the Kyoto Imperial Palace of Japan during the feudal period in the 8th century.
- Qixi is a romantic story about two lovers named Princess Orihime, a seamstress, and Hikoboshi, a cow herder.
- Princess Orihime was also the daughter of Tentei, the God of the Heavens. She wove beautiful clothes which represented the Milky Way. Her father arranged the first meeting of Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi to end the sadness and despair of his daughter.
- Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi instantly fell in love with each other. They were so in love that they started to neglect their respective work. Princess Orihime stopped weaving while Hikoboshi let his cows to wander.
- The God of the Heavens was disappointed. He was angered by the both of them and forbade them to be together. After pleading and promising to weave once again, Orihime was granted permission to meet Hikoboshi again. However, her father decided that the two star-crossed lovers could only meet once a year.
- In the field of cosmology, Hikoboshi is known as the Cowherd Star (Altair) and Orihime as the Weaver Star (Vega).
- The two lovers were separated by the river (Milky Way). Every 7th of July, a bridge will be made by magpies for Orihime.
- On the day of Tanabata, Japanese people (and even tourists) write wishes on pieces of colored paper called tanzaku. They hang them on bamboo trees in the streets or in front of their houses.
- After one day, the beautiful wish trees will be burned as an offering while floating in the river or sea.
- Other celebrations in Japan include parades, colorful decorations, firework displays, and food stalls.
- Japanese people always wish for good weather during Tanabata because it is believed that rain will hinder the flock of magpies from building the bridge Orihime would take to meet Hikoboshi.
- In Tokyo, elementary pupils decorate bamboo branches with strips of colored paper. They would also perform short skits about the legend as a school activity.
- There is also a traditional Tanabata song.
- Elaborate and life size Tanabata displays are held in Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture) and Hiratsuka (Kanagawa Prefecture).
- The most famous Tanabata festival is the one in Sendai though it was celebrated every 7th of August based on the traditional lunar calendar. Some also believe that during the Tanabata ceremonies soul of deceased relatives will return.
- Tanabata also signifies the beginning of summer.
- There are various versions of the story but the legend of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd became the most popular.
- Orihime and Hikoboshi are labelled with different names in the many versions of the legend. Orihime may also be called as Asagao-hime (Morning Glory Princess), Momoko-hime (Peach-Child Princess), Sasagani-hime (Spider Princess) and Takimono-hime (Incense Princess). Kaiboshi and Kengyu are the other names for Hikoboshi.
- In Sendai, seven types of ornaments are carefully made and hung on bamboo trees. These include tanzaku or the paper strips for success in school, kinchaka or the purse for money, kamigoromo or kimono for sewing, toami or nets for harvest and fishing, orizuru or cranes for long-life, kuzukago or trash net for cleanliness, and fukinagashi or streamers representing the fabric made by Princess Orihime.
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Tanabata Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The Tanabata Festival. Based on a legendary romantic story of two lovers who meet once a year, the Tanabata Festival is celebrated every July 7th – the day which the two lovers meet again. Japanese people would write their wishes on a piece of paper called tanzaku and hang them on bamboo trees, hoping that their prayers will be answered.
Download includes the following worksheets
- Tanabata Facts
- The Stars of Altair and Vega
- Japanese Culture
- Spirit of Sevens
- Imperial Palace
- Mapping Japan
- Tanabata Song
- Japanese Mythology
- Let’s Celebrate!
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Link will appear as Tanabata Facts and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 21, 2017
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