Tanabata festival

Tanabata Festival

The Tanabata festival comes from a Chinese festival, Qixi, which celebrates the two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi. According to Japanese and Chinese, These two lovers are represented by two stars, Vega and Altair.

This festival is celebrated magnificently in Japan. Do you want to know more about this and how it is celebrated, when it’ll be celebrated, and how people celebrate it? Then, read this article through to the end. Let’s dive into the topic now.

If you are interested in learning about more Japanese Festivals/ East Asian Holidays then click on the given link Japanese Festivals/ East Asian Holidays

What’s Tanabata Festival?

Tanabata festival, which is also called the Star Festival in Japan, is a traditional Japanese and Chinese festival celebrated on July 7th every single year.

Why the Star Festival?

There were two lovers in the mythology of Japan in the past who were separated by the Milky Way. In mythology, these characters were represented by the stars Vega and Altair.

According to Japanese and Chinese ancestry, these two characters are allowed to meet only once a year on July 7th, because of which this day is celebrated to honor them. The festival is celebrated in most locations on July 7th, while some regions follow the lunar calendar, so their dates may differ.

History of the Tanabata Festival

At first, It was a court festival during the Heian period (794-1185). The festival spread to the general population and gained regional customs over time. Due to differences between the lunar and solar calendars, the festival’s date varies, but it’s usually celebrated on July 7th today. 

In how many locations is this festival celebrated?

It’s mainly celebrated in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In Chinese mythology, the festival dates back over 2,000 years. In the story, Orihime, a weaver princess, and Hikoboshi, a cowherd, are allowed to meet every year. This Festival became popular with regional variations during the Heian period. 

When is the Tanabata festival 2023,2024,2025, and 2026?

Some people reading this article may be tourists who want to know the dates of this festival. But guys, you’ll have to wait for this Milky Way Japan Festival 2024, as in 2023 this festival has already been celebrated on the 7th of July. Anyway, I’m mentioning the festival dates up to 2026 so that you can keep track of it.

How do Japanese people celebrate the Star Festival?

This festival is celebrated in different ways. Let’s talk about the things that are done to celebrate this festival.

1. Writing Wishes

I like this thing most about this festival. People write their wishes from their hearts out, opening on a piece of paper called a Tanazaku. It’s actually like a paper stripe that people write on. These wishes are written to get to the positivity and remove the negative from the hearts.

Tanabata festival

2. Decorations

All of the Japanese festivals have one thing in common, which is the decoration. So, that also happens at this festival. People decorate their houses, stress with the lights, and hang their Tanzanku with issues written on bamboo branches. The Tanzaku are quite vibrant papers, so they look great to the eyes.


3. Community Events

The celebration of this festival extends beyond individual households. Communities come together to organize events featuring traditional Japanese dances, lively performances, and food stalls offering a variety of delicious treats. These events serve as a platform for people to connect, enjoy the festivities, and strengthen the sense of community spirit during the festival.

Start festival

Now, I will answer some of your frequently asked questions about this amazing festival.


Tanabata, also famous as the Star Festival, is a beautiful festival that originated in China and Japan. This festival celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, which are represented as Vega and Altair stars. This festival is observed on the 7th of July every single year as it’s believed that the Orihime and Hikoboshi are on this day.

What is the Tanabata festival about?

The Festival commemorates the mythological tale of Orihime and Hikoboshi, separated lovers allowed to meet once a year. It symbolizes love, hope, and the fulfillment of heartfelt wishes.

How do the Japanese celebrate the Tanabata festival?

Japanese celebrate this festival by writing wishes on colorful paper strips and hanging them on bamboo branches. Communities gather for traditional dances, vibrant decorations, and delicious food stalls, fostering a sense of togetherness.

Is Tanabata a holiday in Japan?

No, it is not a national holiday in Japan; however, it is widely celebrated across the country, with various regions having their unique customs and traditions.

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