20 Jun

Did you see the giveaway in the previous post? Deadline is Tuesday June 21.


July 7th of every year is a Japanese holiday called Tanabata(七夕). It is a fun and pretty holiday to celebrate with your children!

The gist of the story behind the festival is this: There is a couple who lives in the sky… Orihime (the Weaving Princess) and Hikoboshi (the Sky King). They are permitted to cross the Milky Way and see each other just once per year… the 7th day of the 7th month.

You can read a more detailed version of the story on Wikipedia, the From Japan with Love blog, About.com, and Kids Web Japan.

Here is how you can celebrate Tanabata!

1) Decorate a bamboo branch with wishes and origami decorations.

– You can purchase an artificial bamboo branch from saveoncrafts or Afloral.com. You could also use a different kind of tree branch.

– Cut long rectangular strips of paper from origami or construction paper (called tanzaku papers), and write a wish on it. For example, “Please help me to be a straight-A student” or “I hope my mom buys me a dog.” Then hang your wish on one of the branches and pray it comes true. (You could also print one of these special papers to write your wish on from printout.jp).

– Make other fancy decorations for your bamboo tree. Origami-club.com has A LOT of great instructions for beautiful origami. This is the amikazari that I made:

– You could also just print out and color some decorations. Here are some from nurieyasan and here are some from kids.nifty.com.

2. Instead of hanging your wishes on a bamboo tree, you can make tiny stars out of paper and hide your wishes inside them.

3. Learn the Tanabata Song.

ささのはさらさら のきばにゆれる
おほしさまきらきら きんぎんすなご

ごしきのたんざく わたしがかいた
おほしさまきらきら そらからみてる

4. Enjoy food like dango, manjyu, mochi, udon, somen, and red rice.

5. Read about other traditions here (you must be able to read Japanese).

6. Watch a Sazae-san episode about Tanabata HERE.

I’ve never been, but have read that Sendai has the biggest and best Tanabata Festival every year. Check out these AMAZING images from the festival! I read on the website that despite the devastation that happened in March, the festival will still be held in 2011.

Instrumental Tanabata Song:

6 Responses to “Tanabata/たなばた”

  1. Crafty Mummy June 20, 2011 at 6:18 AM #

    Thanks for linking to my blog. どうもありがとうございます。Your blog is fabulous! But my Japanese is very rusty. I’ll have to come back and read more

  2. Bicultural Mama June 20, 2011 at 7:42 PM #

    I didn’t know about this holiday. Thanks for all the information. I love all the suggested activities you posted.

  3. HapaMama June 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM #

    What a beautiful holiday. I’m glad to hear that Sendai will be celebrating, that should help lift the spirits of the people there…


  1. Happy Tanabata! « Hiragana Mama - July 7, 2011

    […] you make decorations for Tanabata? If not, make sure to check out my Tanabata Post for lots of crafts and […]

  2. NIHONGO eな, a Portal for Learning Japanese | Hiragana Mama - June 27, 2013

    […] sneaks up on me. I have blogged about ways to celebrate Tanabata with your children HERE and HERE! You can also see more ideas on my Tanabata Pinterest […]

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