TANABATA- The story of Orihime and Hikoboshi

TANABATA- The story of Orihime and Hikoboshi

Tanabata(七夕) is a summer festival that is celebrated on the 7th of July every year. It is also known as the day when Orihime(織姫) and Hikoboshi(彦星) are allowed to meet in the milky way.  According to an old Japanese tale, there once were two young couples; Orihime, the daughter of a god, and Hikoboshi, a young man. Orihime was a weaver and hard worker, and Hikoboshi was a strong young man who took care of cows for a living. The two of them meet, fall in love, and eventually get married. After their marriage, the two are so deeply in love and want to spend time together, that they do not care to work anymore. Seeing the two, God got so angry that he created the milky way between them and separated them forever, which left the two young lovers grief-stricken and broken. God saw what he had done, and promised that if they worked diligently, he would allow them to meet once a year on July 7th.  The couple promised this and began to work hard again in hopes of seeing each other the following year.

Every year on the 7th day of July, Orihime and Hikoboshi are allowed to cross the milky way to meet once a year, and this became to be known as Tanabata.

On Tanabata, it is a custom to eat Somen (素麺)which are extremely fine white noodles made from wheat flour that have a delicate texture. Somen represents the thread in which Orihime weaves, and also resembles the scattering stars of the milky way.  The Japanese eat somen on tanabata wishing to be more skillful in handicrafts, sewing, and other artistic pursuits like Orihime, who was a master weaver who weaved beautiful cloth that shines in five different colors.


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