TANABATA, meaning “Evening of the seventh” is a Japanese star festival, derived from the Chinese star festival, Qi Xi “The Night of Sevens.” It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the luni-solar calendar.
Since the stars come out at night, the celebration is held at night. The festival originated from The Festival to Plead for Skills. In the Edo period, girls wished for better sewing and craftsmanship, and boys wished for better handwriting by writing wishes on strips of paper. At this time, the custom was to use dew left on taro leaves to create the ink used to write wishes.