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“Star Festival” at Britannia Shipyards

Multicoloured strips of paper hanging from a bamboo branch

What cultural holidays or traditions have been passed down in your communities? Japanese Canadian children may remember writing their wishes on colourful paper and hanging them on bamboo branches for the July 7th Tanabata Star Festival, celebrated annually in Japan.

During the first week of July, come to Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and leave your own wishes to decorate our Tanabata tree.

This summer festival is based on an old Chinese┬álegend from a long time ago. The story goes that there was a beautiful princess named Orihime who was a star weaver of beautiful kimonos and lived in the skies along the Milky Way. She fell in love with a hard-working cowherder named Hikoboshi, and with a love so strong they both became distracted from their duties. Because of this, Orihime’s father separated them by the Milky Way, and allowed them to only meet once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month.

Every year, the Tanabata Festival brings a splash of colour to public spaces all across Japan. To celebrate this story, it is a custom to write a wish on a coloured strip of paper called tanzaku and hang it up on the bamboo to display in front of homes, public buildings, and storefronts.

Join us until July 9th to write down a wish on a tanzaku and see all the beautiful wishes and dreams from those who have visited. Thanks to the City of Richmond Parks department who have helped us source the bamboo branches from their overgrown homes.

Look for the activity beside Murakami Garden July 1st to 9th, 11am to 4pm.

Blue and white sign on red and white checked tablecloth