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  • 執筆者の写真Mariko Oku

星に願いを~日本の七夕の起源~  Wish upon a star ~ The origin of Japanese Star Festival~


Tonight is the day of Star Festival!



This is the day when two lovers in the sky, Hikoboshi the cowherd and Orihime the weaver, who fell in blind love so much that they are eventually separated by the angry Sky God, can meet in the Milky Way river between them once a year.

In China,this legend is celebrated at the court wishing for the progress of needlework to have a share of talent from the master of weaving, Orihime.


The Chinese court event was introduced to Japan by Japanese envoys to Tang in the 8th century, which was also followed as a traditional custom at the Japanese Imperial Court.


Court nobles rubbed an ink stick with drops of the evening dew from the heaven on the taro leaves wishing upon the star,and then they wrote down their wishes in the form of Japanese poems on the heart-shaped leaves of paper mulberry.


The paper mulberry is pronounced as “ 梶(kaji),” which is a homonym of “舵(kaji),’ meaning a helm, which means that the helm of the “kaji” leaves would take their wish leaf boat to the heaven and their dreams would come true.

That sounds so tasteful, isn’t it?


In Japan, we also have a tradition of offering silk textiles to heavenly deities, which were woven by pure maiden named “Tanabatatsume.” She holed up in a hut alone to weave the sacred silk fabrics on a loom all day long in this July season.


Enjoyed making lots of decorations for the Star Festival with my little kids!


This is a lantern, whose lighting illuminates the way of the star lovers ,Orishime and Hikoboshi.


Don’t you think it’s like a fish capture net?

Japanese make this net decoration wishing for a large catch in the sea.

織姫の織り糸を表す吹き流し This symbolizes the weaving yarn of Orihime, the weaver Star princess.

厄を移し、身代わりになってくれる紙のお人形の神衣 This is a paper doll decoration that will replace you and take over all bad lucks,


Each item has each significant meaning.

最後に、この飾りと願い事を書いた短冊と、神様の宿る依り代の笹に飾り付けます。 Finally, we wrote our wishes on paper strips and hang them on bamboo leaves with other decorations.


織姫と彦星が出会えるように願いを込めて、天の川そうめんを作りました。 Somen, Japanese very thin wheat flour noodles, is a very indispensable traditional meal for the Star festival.

This year, I made original Somen with Hikoboshi and Orihime on top, wishing for their success of the once-a-year meeting in the Milky Way.


Cross my fingers for the Star couple, and hopefully wish for their power of love would overflow into our universe tonight!



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