A meeting of star-crossed deities is spurring a cultural celebration at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Nebraska’s Kawasaki Reading Room will hold a Tanabata Summer Party from 2 to 4 p.m. July 31 in its second-floor space within the Jackie Gaughn Multicultural Center. The event is free and open to campus.
When translated, Tanabata means “evening of the seventh” and is also known as the Star Festival. The event celebrates the meeting of deities Orihime and Hioboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair.
According to legend, the Milky Way separates the two lovers, allowing them to meet just once a year. The two come together traditionally on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The celebration date varies by region, but initial festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calendar.
The Tanabata legend originated from China’s Qixi Festival and was brought to Japan in the 8th century. In present-day Japan, the day is generally celebrated by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on small pieces of paper and hanging them on bamboo.
Founded on Sept. 24, 1992, Nebraska’s Kawasaki Reading Room for Japanese studies features gathering space alongside more than 5,000 artifacts and books. It is an extension of Nebraska’s Department of Modern Languages. Learn more about the reading room.