The Tanabata Festival, also known as the Japanese Star Festival, takes place on 7th July every year in Japan. Its popularity lies in its tradition of writing wishes on bright strips of paper (tanzaku papers) and then hanging them on bamboo trees, in the hope that the wish will come true.
According to an ancient legend, it is believed that the two stars Altair and Vega, which are lovers split by the Milky Way, are able to meet on this day. The Tanabata Festival celebrates the union of these star lovers. People scribble down their wishes on fine strips of coloured paper and hang them on bamboo branches in their homes. Then they pray for their wishes and desires to come true.
The Tanabata Festival is held across Japan but extensively in Sendai and Hiratsuka, which are predominantly famous for their intricate Tanabata displays. People use various kinds of colourful paper crafts to decorate and adorn bamboo twigs. Also, enormous decorative items are available at shopping avenues in these two cities. People light lamps and lanterns and float them on the stream. Colourful displays along the streets are a wonderful sight.