festivals in japan

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Fuji-sakura flower festival, Shibazakura Garden, Japan.

Illustration done in occasion of the Tanabata festival, or the “Star Festival”. The legend narrates the love story of Orihime (correspondent to the star of Vega) and Hikoboshi (correspondent to Altair).

“Once upon a time, on the shores of the Celestial River lived the king of all the gods and emperor of the sky, Tentei, whose daughter Orihime spent her days weaving and sewing clothes for the deities. She worked so much that she didn’t have any time for herself. When she came of age, her father choose an husband for her: a young herdsman called Hikoboshi. He worked very hard too, his task was to herd the oxen across the Celestial River.

For the two lovers it was love at first sight. They were so in love with each other that they spent all their time together, forgetting about their duties. Orihime stopped producing clothes for the gods, and Hikoboshi’s herd wandered without control through the sky. This angered Tentei, and he punished severely the two lover. Orihime and Hikoboshi were forced to live separately, one on each bank of the river. The princess was desperate and cried uninterruptedly. Tentei, moved by his daughter’s tears, allowed them to meet again, but only once each year, the seventh day of the seventh month. Every year, a flock of magpies come and create a bridge with their wings so that Orihime can cross the river and reunite with her husband.”