Did you know that Japan has been celebrating star-crossed lovers for over a millennia since the Nara period? According to legend, a gifted weaver named Orihime and a hard-working cow herder named Hikoboshi were so in love that after their wedding, they began to neglect their duties. As punishment, Orihime’s father, who was the emperor of heaven, exiled the lovebirds to separate ends of the Milky Way allowing the two stars to meet only once a year on July 7th.
The tale of love between Orihime and Hikoboshi first crossed over to Japan from China during the Nara period in the form of a weaving festival. But intertwined with the Japanese legend of tanabata-tsume, the holiday has slowly morphed into the Tanabata we celebrate today. Today, the lovers are celebrated with decorations and wishes written on long strips of colorful paper that is then hung on a bamboo branch. Children often take part in such activities at schools, shopping centers, or community centers.
Tanabata Festivals take place throughout Japan in the month of July. Some of the most famous festivals include the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri in Miyagi Prefecture, Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri in Kanagawa Prefecture and Anjo Tanabata Matsuri in Aichi Prefecture. But there are also many local Tanabata Festivals you and your family can take part in. Here are just a few in the Tokyo area:
- Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri, Asakusa/Ueno, July 5-9, https://tokyocheapo.com/events/shitamachi-tanabata/
- Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri, Asagaya, August 3-7, https://tokyocheapo.com/events/asagaya-tanabata-festival/
- Okamoto Park Tanabata Matsuri, Setagaya, July 7 10:00-15:00
- Fussa Tanabata Matsuri, Fussa, August 2-5, https://tokyocheapo.com/events/fussa-tanabata-festival/
Having a diverse network of babysitters means that with CareFinder, you can find multicultural nannies that can expose your kids to different cultures and traditions. This year, celebrate Tanabata with a Japanese babysitter that can expose your children to Japanese culture first-hand. At CareFinder, we are committed to meeting all of your babysitting needs whether you are looking for just an evening babysitter, an international babysitter, a hotel babysitter, a weekend babysitter, an overnight babysitter, a great au pair or a summer babysitter. Sign up on CareFinder to begin your search!