WISH UPON A STAR
The Japanese festival of Tanabata falls on July 7th, although it may be held on various dates in July and August in different regions. It celebrates the reunion of legendary lovers and it’s a time when wishes really can come true!
A STORY OF STAR-CROSSED LOVERS
The festival is based on this traditional Japanese story:
Tentei, the Sky-King had a daughter called Orihime, who shone in the night as the star Vega. Obedient and industrious, she spent all her time on the banks of the river Amanogawa, or Milky Way, weaving cloth for her father. But Orihime went into decline because she was lonely. Knowing that she longed for a husband, Tentei allowed her to meet Hikoboshi, the Cow-herder Star, (also called Altair). The two fell head-over-heels in love and had eyes for nothing but each other. Orihime’s loom lay idle and Hikoboshi’s cows wandered all over the heavens. In a rage Tentei separated them, but Orihime was so upset that her father promised she should be with her husband again if she worked hard at her weaving. Orihime complied, and on the seventh day of the seventh month the lovers meet. So now is when wishes are granted to all those who are industrious and true of heart.
TRADITIONS OF TANABATA
The Japanese write wishes in poetry on scraps of paper. Usually the wishes involve developing new skills. The papers are then suspended on bamboo, along with other colourful ornaments. The bamboo and decorations may be set afloat on a river, or burned after the festival. Different places have different customs. For instance, wishes may also be floated downstream in paper boats holding lit candles. If many tiny boats set sail, it looks as if the Milky Way has come to earth
TANABATA TRADITIONAL POEM
The bamboo leaves rustle
Shaking away in the eaves
The stars twinkle:
Gold and silver grains of sand.
Big festivals are held in lots of Japanese towns. Shopping malls and streets are decorated with large, multi-coloured streamers. Tanabata is also celebrated in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Most of the celebrations include a competition for the best decoration. Outdoor stalls sell food and brightly-coloured gifts and there are carnival games and events. Tokyo Disneyland often marks Tanabata with a festive parade in which Minnie, as Vega, meets Altair, as Mickey.
MAKE YOUR TANABATA WISHES
This is a wonderful opportunity to draw on the magic of the summer nights and make wishes that will change your life. Take your time to reflect on exactly what you want – you must be careful what you wish for because it will probably come true!
• Write your wishes on scraps of paper. Shape these so they roughly resemble boats or birds. Burn them in a chimenea, fire-bowl or camp-fire, when the stars are in the sky. As the smoke curls upwards ask the Sky-king to hear your wish and grant it
• Choose a special shrub or plant to be your Tanabata Tree. This ‘tree’ can be indoors or out. Write your wishes on pieces of paper, or scraps of wood or cloth – family members can do the same. You can wish for love, money or anything you want, but don’t forget also to wish for skills and the energy to work hard, in the Tanabata tradition. Raid your Christmas decoration box and hang silver and gold stars on your Tanabata Tree. On the Full Moon that falls three weeks after Tanabata, on Friday 31st July, have a party or barbecue to celebrate. Take your wishes off your tree, bind them with silver or gold thread and bury them in a flower-bed. Over the coming year they also will blossom
• Make a dream-boat by folding paper in the shape of a boat. Or you could use walnut shells or hollowed bark. You’ll also need some birthday candles - stick these to the base of the ‘boat’ by melting some of the wax at the bottom of the candle and pressing it into your boat. Write your wish on a small piece of paper, and place this in your boat – or write a wish on the boat itself. After dusk, go to a gently-flowing stream, light your candle and let your wish-boat sail. As you watch it go, imagine your wish being taken out into the universe and coming back to you, fulfilled. Do this with friends and family on a calm evening, and the many twinkling lights will fill the night with enchantment
• Holding a clear wish in your mind, contact one of TheCircle’s team of Psychics. Their advice will help you to take the first step towards your dream
• Wish upon a star. When you see the first star of the evening, make your wish. Then wait until you see the second star appear, to make the magic work
Tuning into significant ancient festivals can greatly enrich your life. However, sometimes it isn’t that easy, and you need some insight and encouragement. At TheCircle you can always contact a Psychic or Medium who can help you. Benefit from a Psychic Reading, check your Horoscope, get some advice, insight and support. A Clairvoyant Reading can show ways to move forwards, so make contact with us as soon as you can
PUBLISHED: 03 JULY 2015