Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tanabata Festival

Christmas in July?

Well, not exactly.

Every year around July 7, some teachers at my school erect a tall segment of bamboo tree in the courtyard to celebrate the Tanabata Festival (Star Festival). This is not so much a festival as the celebration throughout Japan of a significant celestial event happening on the seventh day of the seventh month.

According to legend, the two stars Vega and Altair, separated lovers, are allowed to meet each other across the Milky Way only once a year on the evening of July 7. On this occasion, prayers are offered so that young girls will improve in calligraphy and handicraft.

The custom is to set up leafy bamboo branches in the garden and have people write poems or wishes on long strips of colorful paper that they then tie to the bamboo leaves.

My wish: To own a successful business. Maybe I should've wished for world peace or an end to world hunger or something, but, uh... I guess that didn't occur to me first. Oh well.

What did the students wish for? Here are a few...

A wish to pass an exam.

A wish to win a sports championship of some kind.

According to my supervisor, the boy who wrote this one wishes for a lovely woman to descend from the heavens to be his lover. Hence, the evil grin.

A proclamation of love where the second half of the beloved's name is missing. It's a secret! Aww.

Shall we dance? Why yes, let's!

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