Celebrate Tanabata at Carl Schurz Park

6th Annual Tanabata Festival

Saturday, July 9 from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Carl Schurz Park Esplanade – East River Promenade (enter at E. 86th Street and East End Avenue)

Admission: Free

Artwork by Motoko Shimizu

The Japanese American Association of New York and the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, together with support from the Consulate General of Japan in New York, will hold the sixth annual stargazing Tanabata Festival. AAA members with telescopes will show guests the night sky.

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.

To honor the star-crossed lovers, the Japanese write their wishes on thin strips of paper called tanzaku and hang them from bamboo branches.

Wishes on tanzaku at Tanabata

Write Your Wishes

Volunteers from the Origami Therapy Association will hand out tanzaku. Guests can write their wishes and tie them to bamboo branches. OTA will also teach participants how to fold different kinds of origami. A member of the Consulate will use the street theater known as kamishibai to tell the folk tale of Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are represented by the stars Vega and Altair.

The New York Mixed Chorus and Bon Dan-NYC will perform. Please bring your own obento, beverage, and picnic blanket and enjoy a summer evening with the community.

This event is free and open to the public, so throw on your yukata and make a wish!

For more info, please visit the JAA’s Facebook Page.

For All Things Japanese in New York City, check out JapanCulture-NYC.com and follow @JapanCultureNYC on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook!