http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/jul7.html Tanabata is a nationwide celebration in Japan, featuring very large festivals, with streets decorated with lanterns, festooned bamboo and colourful streamers, notably at Hiratsuka, Miyagi Prefecture and Shounan City, Kanagawa Prefecture. In some districts, such as Sendai City, the Tanabata festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, in early August, or specifically on August 7.
Tanabata, inspired by a romantic legend, is the name for Japanese version of the Chinese star festival (Qi Qiao Jie or Qi Xi, sometimes called Chinese Valentine's Day, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar and thus is also known as 'Double Seven Day'). It is thought to date back to the 8th Century in Japan; in fact, 755 is given as the year that the Empress-regent Koken (718 - 770) instituted Tanabata. On this day two stars (Vega, in the Lyra constellation, and Altair, in the Aquila constellation – see below) that are usually separated from each other by the Milky Way, come together.
The festival celebrates the meeting of Orihime (personifying the star Vega), a skilful weaver, and Hikoboshi, or Kengyu (Altair), a herdsman and breeder of cattle, mythological lovers who were separated by the Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky. They were allowed to meet only once a year, on Double Seven Day, which the Japanese have placed at 7/7 in the Gregorian Calendar, namely, July 7 ...
Categories: japan, mythology, calendar-customs, astronomy