Last month, we had a few friends over to celebrate Tanabata, a Japanese festival celebrated on July 7th. (We held our party the weekend after.) The celebration revolves around an old Chinese legend.
Orihime, daughter of Tentei (the Sky King,) had a lover, Hikoboshi, who lived on the other side of the Amanogawa (the Milky Way.) Orihime and Hikoboshi were both hardworking gods. She was a weaver and he was a cow herder. But once they got married, they became lazy which upset the Sky King so he separated them with the Amanogawa. Orihime was so devastated that her father promised her she could be reunited with Hikoboshi, but only on the seventh day of the seventh month and only if she and Hikoboshi worked very hard. But because the lovers were separated by the river, magpies had to build a bridge so they could meet. Tanabata is the celebration of the lovers crossing the Milky Way to meet each other again.
Tanabata festivals are held all over Japan, sometimes on July 7th and sometimes in August (for those keeping with an older calendar system.) Modern day festivals include fireworks and bright, colorful decorations. (I love these pictures! #decorationgoals) Festival-goers also write wishes on pretty paper strips and tie them to bamboo branches in hopes their wishes will come true. I wasn’t planning to celebrate Tanabata, but once I read more about it, I couldn’t wait to have an excuse to invite a couple of friends over for a little mid-summer celebration. I did some research and found a few easy decorations to make. I spent a morning folding a few traditional Tanabata ornaments to hang on the lanai. I folded fans and lanterns and made a trail of bamboo leaves (the green one…please excuse my imperfect folds!) and cut a little blue net (which is so simple but turns out so neat looking!)I also used this printable and cut strips so we could each write down our wishes. I tied the strips to my basil plant, the most bamboo-like plant on the lanai.
I made a yuzu cocktail and Naoto made edamame and somen. (Naoto was the only one who ate his noodles with a fork.) And Presley even got into the action, tearing up one of the decorations and chasing it around the apartment all day. (How could I be mad with that sweet, innocent face looking up at me?)
I’m already thinking of Hasegawa Tanabata 2017. I have a Tanabata Pinterest board going so I can keep all of the origami instructions and ideas together until next year. I think I may need to start folding now, right?