Site logo

Celebrating Tanabata in Sakon Nakhon

For a couple weeks in July, the Foreign Language Department at Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University (SNRU) celebrated the Japanese star festival known as Tanabata. Organized by Japanese language lecturer Ajarn Sato, who was assisted by his Japanese language students, a large bamboo tree was set up in Building 19, upon which university students, professors, and administrators placed their wishes for good fortune.

Japanese Festivals Sakon NakhonWhile there are many Japanese festivals during the summer months, Tanabata has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Japanese people, which is why Ajarn Sato chose this one to celebrate with the university community (after having also celebrated the Hinamatsuri festival in March). Tanabata honors the story of two deities, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who became star-crossed lovers.

According to legend, Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair) fell madly in love with one another. But after falling in love they neglected their duties and were placed on other ends of the Milky Way as punishment. They are allowed to see each other only once a year on July 7th (the seventh day of the seventh month of the year in the lunar calendar).

The Japanese people celebrate Tanabata by writing wishes on strips of colored paper called tanzaku, which are then hung on bamboo trees, which have special spiritual significance in Japan because they grow perfectly straight up towards the sky.

David Alan