What is Tanabata?
Once upon a time, there were a daughter of the god, and skilled weaver princess named Orihime, and a cowherd named Hikoboshi. They fell in love and got married. However, after their marriage, they stopped working and spent their days playing, neglecting their responsibilities. Angered by their behavior, the gods created the Milky Way to separate them. Seeing their sorrow, the god made a promise that if they worked diligently as before, they would be allowed to meet once a year on July 7th, known as Tanabata. From then on, the couple worked hard, and they were allowed to see each other on the day. If it rains on that day, the water level of the river rises, making it impossible to cross. However, a flock of birds called “Kasasagi” (Magpie in English) comes from somewhere and forms a bridge, allowing the two to be reunited.
Every year on July 7th, people write their wishes on small strips of paper called “tanzaku,” hang them on bamboo branches, and beautifully decorate the bamboo. At NILS, we also hold a Tanabata event every year. We write our wishes, decorate the bamboo, and then, as it becomes hot, we make and eat shaved ice.
Originally, people used to make wishes for improvement in skills, just like the skilled weaver princess, Orihime. It is believed to be auspicious to wish for improvement in various aspects of life.
Now, let’s see the students’ wishes…
Of course… money, a house… and things they want. Haha!
Following the teacher’s instructions, they were able to make beautiful Origami decorations too.
Due to the large number of students, they also decorated a picture of a bamboo branch. Everyone decorated it beautifully.
After making a wish, it’s time for shaved ice! It’s a classic treat at Japanese summer festivals. There are four flavors: strawberry, melon, lemon, and Hawaiian blue. One student asked, “What does ‘Hawaiian blue’ taste like?” Well, it’s like a taste of Hawaii…? Haha It’s difficult to explain, but it’s definitely sweet and delicious. Although each flavor is delicious on its own, everyone mixes
them together. It seems a rainbow combination is popular. It makes for a great photo!
~Ogori City and Tanabata Festival~
Actually, Ogori City, where NILS is located, is a small city, but it is said to be the birthplace of Tanabata.
One of the reasons is…. this bird.
The magpie (Kasasagi) in the story is a bird that forms a flock when it rains and builds a bridge across the Milky Way, but it is only found around Ogori City in Japan. It is said that Ogori City is the place where the Tanabata story was born, and there is a road named Tanabata Street and a shrine called Tanabata Shrine. (There are various theories.)
It is a place very closely related to Tanabata.
<NILS students’ impressions＞
・Through the school’s events and activities, I have come to understand Japanese culture. I would like to participate in more events and activities like this.
・I wrote my dream on a strip of paper at the Tanabata event. I also ate shaved ice. It was very delicious. The class was very fun and meaningful.
・I make a with to pass the JLPT. The shaved ice was delicious.
・Today’s Tanabata program was very enjoyable. The shaved ice was also delicious. Thank you so much for this program, NILS FAMILY ☺.
If you ever come to Ogori, please visit Tanabata Shrine and we also have Tanabata Festival in August.
Please come to NILS and enjoy the Japanese event “Tanabata” with us!
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