July 7th is Tanabata (七夕).
Tanabata (七夕) was inspired by the famous Chinese folklore story, “The Princess and the Cowherd”.
People decorate bamboo with a piece of paper on which was written a wish.
Orihime (織姫 Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (天帝 Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川 Milky Way). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone.
Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星 also referred to as Kengyu, 牽牛) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly after.
After Their Marriage
However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven.
In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again.
The 7th Day of The 7th Month
Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving.
The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge.
Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river.
It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait another year to meet.
Which Stars Are They?
Look for Orihime and Hikoboshi in the sky, It is said Orihime is Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra and Hikoboshi is Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila.