Today, the 7th of July is Tanabata Day in Japan. This is a Japanese tradition where people write their wishes on small, colourful pieces of paper called tanzaku then hang them on bamboo trees outside their home.
Knowing this made me happy as me and my kids are planning to prepare a wishing tree over the weekend. In my previous post on the 1st of July: Celebrate!, I shared with you how we spent our weekend wonderfully with some pampering and joy. This time around, we know we are in solidarity again with other people in Japan will be remarkable.
So, what is Tanabata? Where does this festivity originate?
The Legend of Tanabata Day
The legend of this celebration started from the story of two descendants of Japanese gods – Orihime and Hikoboshi. Orihime is a maker of kimonos for the gods. Meanwhile, Hikoboshi is a herder of cows. These two immortals have fallen in love with each other and eventually got married.
However, they have forgotten about their work. Consequently, people did not have enough kimonos and dairy to use. Moreso, people have died from diseases as a result.
Because of all these, the higher gods have been angry with Orihime and Hikoboshi. They have separated the two and let them meet only every 7th of July.
Tanabata then is born from this tale. The Japanese believe that these two gods will grant people’s aspirations on this day. (Source: FastJapan.com)
Isn’t it amazing how a story can influence people’s lives?
That is the reason why I personally have great respect for traditions and cultures around the globe. It is one of the things that Travel has taught me. Some people may call it superstition or paganism. But I don’t see anything wrong with beliefs and the expression of it.
Celebrations and the Need for it
In fact, celebrations, such as the Tanabata Day, are essential for an authentic living. Why? Every time we remember a date and celebrate, we take the opportunity to stop, reflect, connect and grow. (Learn about Life as a Balancing Act.)
If we celebrate, we develop gratitude. In fact, according to a research conducted by Dr Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, “gratitude results in higher levels of enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy.” All the more when we write them.
In this regard, despite domination, faith, gender and age, festivities are fully appreciated as they satisfy human’s needs for social connection.
No man is an island. We are by nature social beings. As such we need belonging, love, respect, faith, connection, direction and a sense of purpose. Hence, we only meet these needs in a safe community of people, spirituality, work environment, group, family or like-minded friends.