The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York Presents the Tanabata Festival



Tanabata, Tanabata Festival, Star Festival, NYC, Japan, Japanese observances, stars, star gazing, Princess Orihime, Hikoboshi, Milky Way, Vega, Altair, Amateur Astronomers Association

Tanabata Festival

Saturday, July 8 from 7:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
(Please note the date changed from Friday, July 7 due to the forecast of inclement weather.)

Riverside Park – 116th Street Overlook

Admission: Free

The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will partner with Japanese and Japanese American groups to hold the second annual star gazing Tanabata Festival. AAA members with telescopes will show guests the night sky and tell the folk tale of Tanabata, the story of the deities Princess Orihime, a weaver, and her lover, Hikoboshi, a cowboy, represented by the stars Vega and Altair, which are prominent in the summer sky. The two lovers are separated by the Milky Way and are allowed to see each other once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunisolar calendar.

Tanabata has become a large summer festival in Japan, often promoted as a romantic holiday, much like Valentine’s Day. AAA educators will recite the fable of the star-crossed lovers. Part of the festival involves writing wishes on colored paper called tanzaku and attaching them to bamboo trees or poles. Members from the Japanese American Association of New York (JAA), the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Japanese Americans and Japanese in America (JAJA) will hand out the tanzaku, and guests can write their wishes, tying the tanzaku to bamboo branches.

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.

For more information, please visit AAA’s website.