Wish Upon a Star (Tanabata)

07 Jul

Today is the 7th day of the 7th month, otherwise known as Tanabata. This is often called the star festival, and it relates to wishes. According to Barrish-sensei, here is the back story to the festival:

Two stars, Weaver Princess Star and Herd Boy Star were in love. The Weaver Princess Star was very good at weaving, and her father was a heavenly king. Although the Herd Boy Star was a boy of lowly birth, the king, kind-hearted, let them marry. But because they were in love so much, they forgot to do their work. The Weaver Princess Star did not weave the cloth and the Herd Boy Star did not take care of the herds of sheep. The king became so angry that he decided they must be separated. They were told to live at the opposite sides of the Milky Way, the Sparkling River of the Heavens. They were only to meet on the night of July 7th, when they cross the sky.

There are multiple versions out there. As always, wikipedia has something to say on the matter. No matter which story version you follow, today is the day for making wishes. This is usually done by writing your wish on a piece of paper, a tanzaku. You then tie this wish to a bamboo plant or pole. Little Tokyo has a couple of bamboo plants that always have wishes on them. To the point that the bamboo looks like it is stunted from it.

Me and SO decided we would participate this year at home (we participated last year in Little Tokyo). We took out some of our special origami paper and cut a nice piece for ourselves. We focused on what we wanted as we wrote. We then took our papers outside to hang on our wisteria plant (I know, it’s not quite the same). I also left some offerings out for the local fauna, so hopefully they will like it.

Tanzaku on our wisteria.

The offerings are tea and water- the only two beverages on tap in our house anymore, and cookies. Back when I offered to the fae regularly, they seemed to like sweet baked goods- sugar cookies and mini-cupcakes were the most common. Since I had some lying around, I decided to offer them up. If I would have had any, I would have offered daifuku as well.


If you could wish for anything right now, what would you wish for?

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Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Shintoism


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6 responses to “Wish Upon a Star (Tanabata)

  1. The Rose Bell

    July 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Always one of my favorite (and saddest) stories :>>>
    I love your tea set, and I think this one of the most charged things you can do. It’s so simple, but has so much feeling to write your wish down and hang it up. It just does something very nice for the soul and the universe :>

    • von186

      July 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I don’t use these cups often. I save them for special things :3
      I found that when writing… I had an endless supply of ‘go juice’ to charge up the paper with. Usually, I have something that tells me to stop, but that never happened today. I just sorta had to go… hopefully that’s enough, because I’m tired of sitting here XD

  2. Ekunyi

    July 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I had never heard of this particular festival, but really love the concept. It reminds me a bit of something we set up at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival last year, as part of the Peace Corps exhibit. Attendees were invited to write a wish for peace on a scrap of paper and tie it to one of the trees located in the center of the festival. The result was a veritable forest of well-intentioned wishes released to the Universe.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Neferet

    July 16, 2012 at 3:38 am You’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Congrats!

    • von186

      July 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

      ❤ thanks 🙂


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