2020 Virtual Tanabata

Thank you for registering for Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center’s Virtual Tanabata.

Based on the legend of star-crossed lovers who are only allowed to reunite one night each year, Tanabata (七夕) is now celebrated with parades and many elaborate decorations, on July 7th.

Originally, Tanabata was celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Japanese lunisolar calendar, but is celebrated on different dates today. Using today’s Gregorian calendar, that would happen on different days depending on the year, sometime in August. For consistency, it is often set on the Gregorian calendar’s 7th day of August. Meanwhile, other people translate the date fully to the Gregorian calendar which puts it on July 7th.

At Shofuso later this week, you can see Sandai-style Fukinagashi (tanabata decoration) in person. Sendai is a prefecture in North Japan, famous for its large-scale Tanabata decorations that have followed the regional tradition since the Edo period (1603 -1868).  Sendai Tanabata Festival is one of the oldest and largest Tanabata festivals in Japan. At the Sendai Tanabata Festival, there are frequently seven types of decorations:
  • Paper Cranes (orizuru) – for good health and long life
  • Paper Strips (tanzaku) – with handwritten wishes for the future
  • Paper Kimono (kamigoromo) – for good sewing
  • Purse (kinchaku) – for financial success
  • Net (toami) – for a good harvest or fishing
  • Trash Bag (kuzukago) – for cleanliness
  • Streamers (fukinagashi) – Orihime’s weaving strings
For Shofuso’s Tanabata celebration this year, join in by making your own cranes, kimono, and fish net decorations; watch the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi told with a kamishibai paper theater play; also write a wish on your own tanzaku strip to hang in your home—or come to Shofuso this week and hang on our own bamboo wishing trees!

2020 Tanabata Activities

Spend your day as if you were at Shofuso with plenty of time for breaks in between or do these activities at your own pace.

11am: Live Tour of Shofuso’s Tanabata Decorations on Facebook Live

Head over to our Facebook page at 11am to see Site Manager James Webster lead a tour of the house, which is decorated for Tanabata. The video will be posted for later viewing throughout the day.


Tanabata 2020 – Live tour of Shofuso!

Posted by Shofuso on Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Noon: Legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi Kamishibai

1pm: Kimono Origami Tutorial

2pm: Crane Origami Tutorial

3pm: Fishing Net Origami Tutorial

4pm: Tanzaku Craft

Write a wish on your own tanzaku strip to hang in your home or on come to Shofuso this week and hang on our own bamboo wishing trees.

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