A Travellerspoint blog

August 2018

Tanabata... from China to Japan back to China.

My Chinese Friends, continue readin

it was both thought of and forgotten.
For a long time.

If you've never been to Japan, you may not be familiar with Tanabata.

So, what is it exactly?

In a nutshell, Tanabata is a Japanese tradition in which people write their wishes on small, colorful strips of papers and hang them on bamboo branches. The Japanese term for these papers is tanzaku. Alternatively, some people also decorate bamboo branches with various kinds of paper decorations and place them outside of their houses.

The way the Japanese make wishes may be unique, but a variety of cultures have customs related to wish making. In the United States and other Western countries, breaking chicken wishbones, throwing pennies into fountains, blowing out birthday candles or on dandelion fluff are just some of the ways said to make a wish come a true.

Tanabata is a different custom, but it is universal in the sense that all people, no matter their country of origin, have hopes and dreams to fulfill.

The Origin of Tanabata

It's said that the origin of Tanabata, which is also known as the Star Festival, dates back to more than 2,000 years ago. Its roots are described in an old Chinese tale. According to the tale, once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space. After they got together, they played all the time and began to neglect their work. This angered the king, who separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way) as punishment.

The king relented somewhat and allowed Orihime and Hikoboshi to see each other once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.

Tanabata literally means the night of the seventh. The Japanese believe that Orihime and Hikoboshi can't see each other if the weather is rainy, so it's customary to pray for good weather on this day and also to make wishes.

Because Tanabata is based on the lunar calendar, when the star festival takes place each year varies. Depending on the region hosting the celebration, Tanabata is celebrated either on July 7 or Aug. 7 in Japan. Many cities and towns in the country hold Tanabata festivals and set colorful displays along the main streets. It's especially fun to walk through the long streamers on the street. In some regions, people light lanterns and float them on the river.

Some float bamboo leaves on the river instead.

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Posted by eddakath 11:15 Comments (0)

Its Time to leave...Its Time for a new Adventure

After many good bye dinners, my school put on THE best of the best dinner. This morning I left my most favourite school in 13 years teaching in China.
I caught a train to Nanjing... A huge city I've visited many times before. I put my 'house/back pack that houses my entire belongings' into a locker at the train station and thought, I'll stay a few days.
After a few hours, I realised, I'm leaving a big city because I'm tired of cars and buses, no way to escape. So I went back, grabbed my pack and grabbed a ticket out of there.
Too many people, too much noise.
So now finds me back in my old city of Huai'An in Jiangsu Province. I arrived very late, got a room at my favourite hotel and then went out for street food.
I love old China very much.
People could say NO NO NO.
I haven't cooked for 13 years, I eat out on the street every night... The last two years, that has been difficult...
New area of Ningbo City... Not much street food to be found. But these are a some photos of the last sad week or so in my favourite school with my favourite students ever!

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Posted by eddakath 12:14 Comments (0)

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