This is one of my three favorite holidays.
It is a love story in Japan.
If you make a wish on this day, and if it does not rain, then your wish will come true! This year it is especially lucky because it is the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year.
THE TWO STARS:
Tanabata means “Festival of the stars.” This is a story about the two stars Altair (the boy) and Vega (the girl) which are the main stars in two constellations, Aquila the eagle and Lyra the musical lyre:
Altair and Vega are also two of the three stars of the Summer Triangle, and appear closest to each other in the summertime. (Images from here and here).
THE LOVE STORY:
There was a girl named Orihime – she was the daughter of the Sky God and she wove beautiful weavings. One day, she looked out of her window and saw the oxen-boy, Hikoboshi, and they fell in love. They spent so much time together that she didn’t have any time to weave, and so the Sky God separated the two, and allowed them to only meet each other on the seventh of the seventh.
Why is the Milky Way involved? “In the Chinese Calender, there is almost always a half moon on July 7th and they believe ORIHIME and [HIKOBOSHI] use that half moon as a boat to meet each other over the great river in the sky, AMANOGAWA [the Milky Way],” reports this site.
As long as the Milky Way does not overflow, everyone’s wish will come true on this day. So you can put on your bright summer cotton kimono, called the “yukata,” and you can go dancing in the parks, and you can write your wishes on brightly colored paper (as Dave describes here!) and tie them to a plant (in Japan, it would be a bamboo tree). And finally, you make that wish wholly and deliberately, and then you let go….