“TANABATA : known as the festival of Lovers or Star Festival, is based on an old romantic Chinese legend. It celebrates the story of two lovers, Shokujo and Kenju. Shokujo was a princess who was asked by her father to weave a wonderful cloth. Instead of completing her task, she fell in love with a shepherd named Kenju. When the King discovered that the cloth was not woven and that his daughter had fallen in love with a commoner, he became angry and he banished his daughter and her lover to the sky. He said that they could only meet once a year on Tanabata. When the two star-crossed lovers tried to meet however, they could not cross the sky. The lovebirds took pity on them and spread their wings between the two stars to make the Milky Way. That is why once a year Shokujo and Kenju are able to meet again. The two stars associated with this celebration are Altair and Vega, on opposite sides of the Milky Way.
This legend was brought to Japan and combined with the legend of Princess Oto-Tanabata, who offered her woven products to a god. Thus, the star festival was born out of these two ancient legends and named Tanabata(which means loom or weaver) and on July 7, the Japanese decorate a bamboo tree with strips of colorful papers on which they write their wishes. If the sky is clear, and beautiful stars shine through, then the two star-crossed lovers can meet and that their wishes will be granted.
While searching the net for more insight on Tanabata, I have found the most simple and beautiful poetry from Japan and China. “
I can vouch for the popularity of Tanabata as a poetic
subject among the Japanese. May want to consider writing something
yourself. The original celebration was on the 7th day of the 7th month
but some parts of Japan now celebrate it in August .