Observe Tanabata at Carl Schurz Park

5th Annual Tanabata Festival

Saturday, July 10 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

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

Admission: Free

The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York once again will partner with Japanese and Japanese American groups to hold the fifth annual stargazing Tanabata Festival. AAA members with telescopes will show guests the night sky and tell the folk tale of Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi, the stars Vega and Altair, which are prominent in the summer sky.

Wishes on tanzaku

Representatives of Japan-related organizations will hand out colored slips of paper called tanzaku upon which guests can write their wishes and tie them to bamboo branches. Volunteers from the Origami Therapy Association will teach participants how to fold different kinds of origami. Please bring your own bento, 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! Due to the NYC Parks and Recreation Department’s COVID and safety regulations, please note that all guests are required to wear masks and observe social distancing. For more info, please visit the Amateur Astronomers Association’s website.

Vega and Altair. Photo by Stan Honda.

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.