Tanabata (七夕) — also known as the Japanese Star Festival, is the meeting of the lovers Orihime (the star Vega) and Hikoboshi (the star Altair) in the night sky every year on 7th July. According to legend, Orihime was a princess who fell in love with cowherd Hikoboshi.
However, Orihime’s father did not approve of the pair, so he separated them by putting a river of stars in between them. Orihime begged her father to let them see each other at least once an year, and moved to pity by his daughter’s tears Orihime’s father relented.
Tanabata is celebrated in Japan by writing wishes on thin strips of paper and hanging them on bamboo trees. Young girls also don yukata when they go out at night to watch the fireworks. You too can join the festivities by posting messages on Web七夕 (Japanese only) or on Formspring, where a bilingual Orihime answers in English 😀 Happy Tanabata Eve!