artwork by C-sama from pixiv
Today is Tanabata, a festival in Japan that originated from China’s Qi Xi (七夕), celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. In general, the story behind the festival is inspired by the tale of Princess and the Cowherd.
For Tanabata, it tells a tale about how Orihime (織姫) and Hikoboshi (彦星) fell in love with each other, only to be separated by the emperor of Heaven (天帝). Of course, the emperor was touched by their love and decided to let them meet once a year. Sadly, they were separated by a river. Orihime cried and a flock of magpies, touched, promised to make a bridge every year with their wings so that she could cross the river.
The festival is celebrated in Korea too which is known as Chilseok.
There are different ways of celebrating the event in general. In Japan, large colorful streamers are hung around shopping mall s, people will write wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry and hang them on bamboo. The celebration method may vary slightly in different regions of Japan. In China, prayers are made and offerings of food as well and girls will pray for a good marriage. In Korea, poeple enjoys with the wheat based food such as eating wheat flour noodles and grilled wheat cake.
In all, the festival celebrates and revolves around love though some prefers the Western culture of Valentines Day.
Nonetheless, Happy Tanabata!