Happy Tanabata

Tanabata, — pronounced, as far as I can tell, as TAnabata, not tonaBAta, and at eighth-note speed — is also known as The Festival of the Weaver, and celebrates the two sky-bound lovers, Orihime (Altair) and Hikoboshi (Vega), forever separated by the river of the Milky Way. The festival is held on the seventh day of the seventh month, which is July 7th, 2011 in the modern calendar, or August 8th, 2011, in the Japanese lunisolar calendar.

Wikipedia print of Tanabata in Old Edo, 1852

Traditionaly, people write wishes for improved skills on pieces of paper called tanzaku, and attach them to bamboo stalks, as this picture from Muza-chan shows.

Tanzaku tree at the Asakusa Shrine. From Muza-Chan.net

For Tanabata festivals, people, and others, also dress up in lightweight kimonos, called yakuta yukata.

In Season 2 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi points out that it takes light 16 years to get to Altair and 22 years to get to Vega, so it will take that long to get the wishes answered (they’re gods, so the answers, of course, are instantaneous).

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