Monday, June 18, 2012

Tanabata, Star Festival

Yukata @ Seattle Tanabata 2011, (Source)
Next upcoming event is Tanabata, the Star Festival, July 7th (Saturday). Tanabata has a romantic story about Orihime and Hikoboshi being able to meet in the Milky Way for this one night of the year. Come celebrate Tanabata by dressing in yukata and decorating bamboo with paper ornaments and wishes!

Tanabata is held jointly by the Seattle Japanese Garden and the Wing Luke Museum, and there will be activities at both locations with a shuttle going between the two locations every half hour from 1-5:30pm.

Seattle Tanabata, 2008. (Source)

Seattle/Tacoma Kimono Club's Facebook Event listing
The Seattle Japanese Garden
Wing Luke Museum

Locations and admission info:
You only need to pay the admission fee for one location, and you can visit the second location for free. The admission fees and parking is different for each location, so I've provided that information below.

Wing Luke Museum
719 South King Street, Seattle, WA
Pay-parking, public parking map
Adult - $12.95
Senior - $9.95
Age 13 – 18 or with student ID - $9.95
Age 5 – 12 - $8.95
Under 5 - free

Seattle Japanese Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E, Seattle, WA
Parking lot is available.
Adults 18-64 - $6
Age 6–17, 65+, college students with ID, & disabled - $4
Under 9 - free

Event Schedule:
Celebration at The Wing Luke Museum:
10am-1pm: Crafts with P.A.P.E.R. and the Drachen Foundation.
10:30am and 11:30am: Storytelling performances by Eth-Noh-Tec.

Celebration at the Seattle Japanese Garden:
1-5pm: Japanese calligraphy wishes with Meito Shodo Kai
1pm, 2pm, and 3pm: Japanese tea ceremony (must purchase tea ticket in addition to admission).
2pm: Traditional dance by Fujima Dance Ensemble

A note about the tea ceremony. This is a 40 minute presentation in which visitors are guests of the ceremony, sitting on their knees, seiza style. Tickets are limited to 10 tickets per presentation. The 1pm presentation is sold out, but the the 2pm and 3pm presentations are currently open. Tickets are $5 and are non-refundable. If you would like to participate, call 206-684-4725 for reservations, or let me know if you would like to go as a group. I suggest the 3pm tea ceremony if you wish to watch the dance performances at 2pm. You do not have to wear formal kimono for the tea ceremony, you may wear a yukata or regular clothing, however they do request that you wear socks or tabi (bring them along with you if you are wearing yukata), and they also request that you don't wear jeans, rings, or fragrances.

Here is a video of the Seattle Tanabata in 2010. The video begins with scenes of the decorations on bamboo branches and the telling of the story of Tanabata. The emphasis of the video is on the tea ceremonies performed at the Seattle Japanese Garden during Tanabata.

The Fujima Dance Ensemble will perform this year at Tanabata. Dance performances are generally held at the moonviewing platform overlooking the pond. Here is a video of a dance performed at the gardens for Children's Day festivities.

 There are several decorations that are hung on bamboo branches during Tanabata, each representing a different kind of wish.
Seattle Tanabata, paper decorations. (Source)
The main decoration is tanzaku, rectangular strips of paper in which you can write a wish. There will be calligraphers at Tanabata to help writing wishes in Japanese.
Some examples of tanzaku wishes:
世界が平和でありますように。 (Sekai ga heiwa de arimasu you ni - I wish for world peace.)
今年も元気でいられますように。 (Kotoshi mo genki de iraremasu you ni - I wish to be healthy/energetic again this year.)
みんなの夢が叶えばいい。 (Minna no yume ga kanaeba ii - I hope everyone's dreams come true.)
Your wish can be anything you want, "I want to pass this test." "I want to become a doctor." "I wish my mom would stop embarrassing me in front of my friends." ~Whatever you wish!
Wikipedia has a good description of the other decorations and their meanings. Maybe some of use would like to make the paper kimonos called Kamigoromo, as a wish to improve at sewing!!

If you'd like to make more decorations yourself, here are some links for printing out decoration crafts.
Epson Web Japan
Tanzaku wish papers
Canon Papercrafts

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