The Tanabata festival is thought to have started in China. It was transmitted to Japan during the feudal period and combined with traditional local customs to become an official event at the Imperial court. Commoners soon began observing this festival, with different localities developing their own distinctive ways of celebrating.
Tanabata is held on the evening of July 7. The festival traces its origins to a legend that the Cowherd Star (Altair) and Weaver Star (Vega), lovers separated by the Milky Way, are allowed to meet just once a year – on the seventh day of the seventh month.
Children and adults write their wishes on narrow strips of colored paper and hang them, along with other paper ornaments, on bamboo branches placed in the backyards or entrances of their homes. Then they pray hard that their wishes will come true.