What are those dolls in the windows?

Seasonal Topics / Experience / Culture Art
Tue, Aug 7, 2007

Those two dolls represent two star-crossed lovers who can meet for only one night a year. This one night is called Tanabata, meaning “Seven Evenings” traditionally celebrated on July 7th using the lunisolar calendar (August 7th using our solar calendar). As legend has it, Orihime, meaning weaving princess, made beautiful fabric next to the river of heaven. When she meet her lover Hikoboshi, the crow herder star, they both stop working and spend all of their time together. This angers Orihime’s father (the sky king) so he separates them with the river of heaven and allows them to meet under the bamboo for only one night a year. This is the same night the stars Vega and Altair intersect along the Milky Way.
Tanabata is celebrated by tying wishes often written in the form of poems onto bamboo branches. It is believed that when the star lovers meet under the bamboo they will see the wishes and take them into the heavens with them. Matsumoto is famous for making Tanabata Ningyou, the dolls you now see in the windows.