Saturday, July 11, 2015

七夕 • Tanabata Festival, as seen by Ellie

by aleks
SJG • 7/11/15 - Tanabata Festival

Ellie, my 9 yo granddaughter, has been coming to Seattle Japanese Garden for years. Today was her second time for Tanabata...   She took part in many activities, while discovering that many people around the garden know her face from the July page of the 2015 calendar where her picture matches this Kobayashi Issa's haiku:


kakehashi wo ayunde wataru ko chô kana

crossing the hanging bridge
on foot...

SJG • 7/11/15 - feeding koi; photo by Ellie

This time around Ellie took over my camera to record what she has seen, and said: 'put my pictures on the blog, please'. And so here they are.

From The Nihon Sun: Tanabata – Festival of Star Crossed Lovers:  Separated by the milky way, two star crossed lovers are only able to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month based on the lunisolar calendar.  The legend of Hikoboshi (the star known as Alter) and Orihime (the star known as Vega) has roots in China but has been associated with Japan’s Tanabata festival since the sixth century.

SJG • 7/11/15 - Seen from the stepping stones; photo by Ellie

Orihime, the daughter of Emperor Tentei, was a skilled weaver and made lovely clothes for her father.  On day as she sat alongside the the river of heaven ( amanogawa – the milky way) she was overcome with sadness as she had been so busy with her weaving that she hadn’t had time to fall in love.   Tentei, believed to be the ruler of the heavens, witness her woeful state and arranged a marriage for her with Hikoboshi who lived across the river.  The couple was very much in love and were very happy but Orihime was neglecting her weaving.  This angered Tentei so much that he decided to separate the couple putting them back on opposite sides of the river.

SJG • 7/11/15 - Ellie got a nerve and great social skills to ask the two ladies heading for a  tea ceremony to pose for this picture; they were nice and obliged; photo by Ellie

Tentei decreed that the couple would only be allowed to see each other on one night each year – on the seventh day of the seventh month.  On that evening a boatman (the moon) comes to ferry Orihime over the river to her beloved Hikoboshi.  But if Orihime has not given her best to her weaving Tentei may make it rain causing the river to flood so the boatman cannot make the trip.  In this case the kasasagi (a group of magpies) may still fly to the milky way to make a bridge for Orihime to cross.  More here...

SJG  • 7/11/15: Tanabata activities... photo by Ellie

SJG  • 7/11/15: Ellie and Grandpa Tony

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