Celebrate Tanabata with the Japanese Friendship Garden

It’s Star Festival celebration this Wednesday and Sunday at the Japanese Friendship Garden! This year, the JFG is collaborating with the San Diego Arts and Commission as well as the Minamoto Community to put together a two day festival full of culture, fun, and ceremonies for you.

The Story of Tanabata

Tanabata, also known as the “Star Festival,” is a traditional Asian festival created to celebrate eternal love. The original story of Tanabata came from China, and got adapted to the Japanese culture. The Star Festival celebrates the annual meetup of Orihime and Hikoboshi, the lover separated by the milky way. It was said that every year, on July 7th, magpies will form a bridge so the two stars can finally meet.

Traditional Ceremonies

Traditionally, Tanabata is more than a simple celebration of love. It is also the perfect timing for young maidens to pray for health, financial security, better skills (such as sewing), and of course, long-lasting romance. On the day of Tanabata, girls will hang seven different ornaments in the tree or the bamboos to pray for good fortune, including:

  • paper strips for academic success
  • purses for good finances
  • paper kimono for a pair of creative hands
  • nets for a good harvest
  • paper cranes for health and longevity
  • trash net for cleanliness
  • streamers, representing Orihime’s fabric, for the lover’s whispers and best wishes

Celebrate with the Garden

1125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Did that sound like a lot? No worries. The Japanese Friendship Garden has made Tanabata more fun for us modern peeps. The star festival celebration this year happens on Wednesday, July 7th, and also Sunday, July 11th. It is filled with cultural booths, activities, beautiful landscapes, and goodies to take home with you!

On both days, doors open at 10AM. The highlight of the event would be the group Bon dance activity. With the pandemic lifting up, Bon dance is a perfect way to get back into group activities outdoor without getting too close to each other. You’ll find plenty of praying charms hanging on the bamboos and can make your own at the booths.

For a special surprise, the San Diego kimono club will be presenting on Sunday. Enjoy the traditional Japanese fashion and get all dolled up with your family!

Tanabata Goodie Bags

For just $10, you can take a Tanabata goodie bag home. These bags have a white sage bundle, a mini bamboo, wish paper, tea sample, and broth powder. Therefore, they’re perfect for your after-festival relaxation at home. The bags are provided by the Minamoto Japanese Community. These bags are first come and first serve. You will purchase and pay online and pick up the item at the MJC booth in the garden on the day of the festival.

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