Amateur Astronomers Association and Japanese American Association’s Tanabata Festival
Saturday, July 13 from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
Riverside Park – 116th Street Overlook
The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will partner with Japanese and Japanese American groups to hold the fourth annual stargazing Tanabata Festival. AAA members with telescopes will show guests the night sky and tell the folk tale of Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are represented by the stars Vega and Altair, which are prominent in the summer sky.
Representatives of Japan-related organizations will hand out tanzaku, colored slips of paper for writing wishes, and guests can write their wishes, tying the tanzaku to the bamboo branches. Volunteers from the Origami Therapy Association will teach participants how to fold different kinds of origami. Feel free to bring a blanket and snacks to enjoy.
As it gets darker, Vega and Altair will appear and the other objects will be visible, including the moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn.
- Amateur Astronomers Association of New York
- Hoshuko Alumni Association
- Japanese American Association of New York (JAANY)
- Japanese Medical Society of America
- JET Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY)
- NY Japanese American Lions Club
- Origami Therapy Association
This event is free and open to the public, so throw on your yukata and make a wish! For more info, please visit the Amateur Astronomers Association’s website.
The Legend of Tanabata
Princess Orihime weaved night and day, so much so that her father, the emperor of the galaxy, arranged for his workaholic daughter to meet a handsome cowherd named Hikoboshi. It was love at first sight, and the couple married immediately. Busy being a devoted wife, Princess Orihime neglected her weaving to the point that the emperor separated the young lovers, sending Hikoboshi to the other side of the Amanogawa, or the Milky Way. Beside herself with loneliness, Princess Orihime cried and cried, beginning the rainy season with her tears. Her father couldn’t stand to see his daughter in this state, so he allowed her to visit her beloved one day a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month.
This legend is known as Tanabata, or the Star Festival. To honor the star-crossed lovers, the Japanese write their wishes on thin strips of paper called tanzaku and hang them from bamboo branches. They wait for July 7 so that their dreams will come true.