Tanabata (Star Festival) is an event where it is “the only day of the year where Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet with each other” and has been receiving an impression of being an event for lovers. Many Japanese people believe that the Star Festival is only held in Japan, however, this festival is actually held in some other countries. In this article, we would like to introduce about the origin of the Star Festival in each countries!
The Origin of Tanabata(Japanese Version ＆ Chinese Version)
It is said that the origin of today’s Star Festival was handed down by the Chinese.七夕伝説(Tanabata Densetsu) and 乞巧奠(Kikouden) was combined with the Japanese custom, making it to the event it is today.
- 七夕伝説(Tanabata Densetsu)：This is a story of a married couple (Shokujo who lives in the west side of Amanogawa River and Kengyu who lives in the east side of the Amanogawa River), where ever since the two met and fell in love, they became uncapable of doing their duties properly. Because of this, the God got angry and separated the two on the both sides of the River. The two can only meet each other once a year on July 7th.
- 乞巧奠(Kikouden)：This is a festival to hope for an improvement to a woman’s accomplishments, such as improving in fabric making or calligraphy. In this festival, people would go to the altar of their garden and equip it with a needle or write songs in the leaf of Kaji. It is believed that this was the origin to why people write their wishes on a strip of paper. The festival became popular among the people during the Edo Period.
The Origin of Tanabata(Finland Version)
Once upon a time there lived a happy married couple, Zulamith and Salami. The couple always lived together, however, when they lost their lives, they both climbed a different heaven and became stars. The couple still wished to see each other even in the afterlife and they gathered star crumbs to make a bridge and made a Star Bridge. Today, this bridge is called the Amanogawa or Amanogawa River.
The Origin of Tanabata(Greece Version)
A long, long time in Greece, there was a young boy named Orpheus who was a great harp player. The harp music that he plays is so beautiful that the people, animals and trees around him will be enraptured by his music. One day, while Orpheus was playing his harp as usual, a beautiful girl named Eurydice came near him and danced. From that day onwards, the two became close to each other and met everyday. However, the girl was bitten by a poisonous snake hiding in the grass and passed away. From sadness, Orpheus kept wandering in the fields and mountains without thinking where he encountered with drunk women who teared him limb from limb, causing him to die. And then, the Great God Zeus picked up the harp he dropped and gave it to the stars. Today, it is what we call the Lyra Constellation/Star.
Foreign Countries’ Reaction on Japan’s Tanabata
Have you ever wondered what the other countries feel about the Festival of Stars in Japan? From now, we would like to list out most commented impressions of this festival.
- Very Beautiful
- Quite Unique
- The Yukata is very Attractive
- It Feels Religious
As stated above, Japan’s Star Festival has a positive impression to many!
As mentioned, the Star Festival is not only held in Japan, but also in many other countries and each has their own origin. However, there are no countries that have the same origin as of Japan’s. By all means, everyone please learn the custom of a country and experience it for yourself!