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Tomb Cleaning and Wishes Heard By Stars

Date Posted: 2000-08-11

Sunday was July 7 according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The day, called Tanabata in Okinawa and Japan is significant, as it is the day when families gather at tombs for the second time during the year to clean them to ready for Obon, the annual festival for one’s ancestors. The festival is even bigger in Japan, gathering millions of revelers to festivals organized around a folk tale of two lovers who can meet only once a year on July 7 In Okinawa, children at schools and kindergartens write their wishes on pieces of paper that are then tied to bamboo branches. The belief is that the stars representing the two lovers are also susceptible to hearing the wishes of all living people.

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