In our humble and somewhat bias opinion, we think no one on earth does festivals quite as well as the Japanese. From the Sapporo Snow Festival to the beautiful cherry blossom festivals, we’d love to see and experience them all one day. This week we’ll be getting ready to celebrate Tanabata; a Japanese star festival which falls on the 7th July.
During Tanabata, Japanese people will write their wishes on colourful pieces of ‘tanzaku’ paper and hang them on bamboo branches, so that their wishes might be granted. It’s a very romantic, dreamy festival that will be a sheer delight to those who love Japanese spiritual culture!
The origin of Tanabata begins with a story (and we know the Japanese are very good at telling some wonderful tales), wherein a beautiful weaver princess named Orihime falls in love with a cow herder prince called Hikoboshi, living in space amongst the stars. They are so in love that they cannot help but play and be happy together, but that meant they would often neglect their jobs.
The tale then tells of a king who grew mad at the young lovebirds for forgetting their duties, so he takes a drastic course of action; he separates the two lovers by placing the milky way between them, and allows them to see each other just one day a year – the seventh day of the seventh month.
It’s certainly a tale of love conquering all, as not even that stars could separate the lovers.
Every year at Tanabata the Japanese people prey for good weather too, as it is believed Orihime and Hikoboshi cannot reach other if it is cloudy or rainy.
When the festival draws to an end the Japanese take their wishes and float them on the river or burn them, so that the wishes may be carried to heaven.
Why not celebrate Tanabata yourself this year with your family or friends? Take a picnic to the banks of a local river or lake and write your own wishes on colourful paper. You might like to take a picnic of traditional treats too. Mochi are a very traditional festival food, but why not try out this Yakisoba noodle recipe too? Just pack it up in disposable noodle boxes for a take-away treat!
Also we have fantastic discounts on Yakisoba ingredients on now:
Yakisoba for Tanabata
You will need:
- 250g Soba Noodles
- 300g Prawns or Fried Tofu
- 2 Carrots
- Handful of thinly sliced cabbage
- 2 Thinly chopped spring onions
- 1 Sheet of Nori
- Red Pickled Ginger
- 5 Tbsp Yakisoba Sauce
- Boil the noodles as per the directions on the package, and slice up the tofu and/or prepare the prawns.
- Using sesame oil fry the tofu or prawns on a high heat with a little soy sauce.
- When cooked, remove the seafood or tofu and add all your chopped veggies to the pan. Stir fry on a high heat keeping the food moving at all times.
- When the vegetables are cooked, add the tofu or prawns back into the pan, then add the cooked, drained noodles. Keep the heat high but stir quickly to avoid burning or sticking.
- Drizzle on the yakisoba sauce, add more or less according to your preference and mix it in well.
- Serve in a bowl or box with small strips of nori and a pinch of red picked ginger.