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Tanabata Festival

Star Crossed Lovers Unite

We have been celebrating the Japanese festival of Tanabata at Edge Hill State School. 
Tanabata is also known as the Star Festival and translated means “Evening of the Seventh”. The festival is held annually on the seventh of July. It honours the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi who are represented in the heavens by the stars Vega and Altair.
According to legend Orihime was the daughter of the Sky King Tentei. She wove beautiful cloth by the banks of the River Amonogawa (The Milky Way). Tentei loved the cloth and Orihime worked tirelessly to make it for her father. In time however Orihime became sad because she worked so hard and there was no time to find love. Tentei saw his daughter’s sadness and was concerned for her. He arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi, a cowherd from across the Amanogawa.
The young pair fell instantly in love and were permitted to marry. However, they became inseparable and began to neglect their duties. Orihime would no longer weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi’s cows began to stray across the heavens.
In anger Tentei forbid the pair to see one another, forcing Hikoboshi back across the River Amanogawa. The pair were distraught. Orihime wept and begged her Father to allow her to see her husband. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears. He agreed that if she worked hard and completed her weaving, he would allow the lovers to meet on the seventh day of the seventh month each year.
A tradition during the Tanabata festival is for children to write wishes on coloured strips of paper, sometimes as poetry. These are called tanzaku. Girls customarily wish for better sewing or weaving skills and boys might wish to improve their handwriting. The tanzaku is hung from bamboo, sometimes with other decorations like origami or paper lanterns.
Edge Hill State School continues its own tradition of recognising and celebrating cultural diversity. Our Tanabata festival tanzaku and paper lanterns created a colourful and captivating display around the LoTE room recently. Observers were intrigued by our beautiful Wish Trees, wondering aloud about their significance. Students definitely enjoyed adding their own unique wish to the display.