Tanabata Festival 2017 at Riverside Park


NEW DATE!  Saturday, July 8, 2017

7:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Riverside Park and 116th Street Overlook


                                  “Tanabata Festival in Edo” by Hiroshige (1852)

The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York will partner with Japanese and Japanese American groups to hold the second annual star gazing Tanabata Festival, Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Riverside Park (116th Street overlook), from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. AAA members with telescopes will show the public the night sky and tell the folk tale of Tanabata. We’ll have a supply of tanzaku, colored paper for writing wishes, which will be tied onto  bamboo tree branches. Two members of the Origami Therapy Association will fold and teach participants origami. Our partners are: the Japanese American Association of New York (JAA), the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Japanese Americans and Japanese in America (JAJA) and the Origami Therapy Association.

Tanabata is a Japanese summer festival (also known as the Star Festival) involving the story of the deities Princess Orihime (a weaver) and Hikoboshi (a cowboy), represented by the stars Vega and Altair, which are prominent in the summer sky. The two lovers are separated by the Milky Way and are allowed to see each other once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunisolar calendar.

Tanabata has become a large summer festival in Japan, often promoted as a romantic holiday, much like Valentine’s Day. AAA educators will recite the fable. Part of the festival involves writing wishes on colored paper called tanzaku and attaching them to bamboo trees or poles. Members from Japanese American groups will describe the tanzaku colored paper, various volunteers will hand out the paper, and people can write their wishes. Then they can tie the paper to the tree branch. (This is also been called “Christmas in July.”) As it gets darker, Vega and Altair will appear and the other objects will be visible including the moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

Public Transportation: Subway- 1 train to 116th St (at Broadway); Bus- M5 (on Riverside Dr.), M4, 60, 104 (on Broadway)

Contact: Stan Honda

Festival location: