I find Japanese culture the most fascinating - from sumo wrestling to sashimi, to shichi-go-san festival … there's just so much to know and learn about! If you or your kids also have a fascination in Japanese culture, or are simply looking for school holiday activities, then look no further because I have the best idea for you. Become creative these July school holidays and celebrate the Japanese star festival, Tanabata.
Originating from a legend more than 2000 years ago, Tanabata (meaning evening of the seventh) is one of the many festivals celebrated in Japan. Festivities begin on 7 July every year. According to the legend, there was once a weaver princess, Orihime, who fell in love with a cow herder prince called Hikoboshi. They played together all the time and forgot about their jobs. Consequently, the king got furious and separated them on opposite sides of the Milky Way and only allowed them to see each other once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. What a pair of star-crossed lovers!
In Japan, people celebrate Tanabata by writing their wishes on narrow coloured paper strips and hanging them with other paper ornaments on trees or bamboo branches in the backyards or entrances of their homes. Then they pray for their wishes to come true.
Just like in Japan, you can also celebrate Tanabata here in Australia. Bring the story to life by creating traditional paper-art decorations, origami and kirigami, and writing your heartfelt wishes on pieces of paper called tanzaku, then hang them on a bamboo wishing tree and your wishes might just come true! Led by renowned Japanese artist, Chaco Kato, these workshops will encourage originality and imagination combining Japanese traditions with contemporary art.
Sessions are just $10 and run at 9.30am, 11am and 2.30pm on Wednesday 3 July and Thursday 4 July. Sessions are suitable for children aged 3 to 12, however if you have children under 3 you can attend morning sessions. Only a maximum of 25 children are permitted in each session so book now to avoid disappointment.
I love the fact that Australia is multicultural. There are so many programs and services that cater for our culturally diverse communities allowing us to embrace cultural traditions. In addition, Australians celebrate and value the advantages of cultural diversity throughout the year with all sorts of festivals and events. By living in this country, I've managed to celebrate, practise and maintain my own cultural heritage as well as others. So take this chance to either celebrate your culture, or learn about a different one.