Tanabata is the traditional Japanese Star Festival in summer, held on July 7th. It is based on the Old Chinese legend that the separated lovers, Altair (the Cowherd Star) and Vega (the Weaver Star), meet once a year on this night, combined with the Japanese folk beliefs, and was popularized in the Edo Era (1603-1867).
On the night before, people write their wishes or poems on strips of poetry paper in five colors, and hang them on leafy bamboo. These are attractive enough to be called summer Christmas trees. In recent years, cities such as Sendai and Hiratsuka have attracted sightseers by decorating their shopping street with Tanabata bamboo decorations. There is a pastime called Tanabata Okuri (or Tanabata Nagashi), in which people prepare a bamboo leaf-made boat sailed by a tiny doll undergoing the purification ceremony, and place them in water or in a river in order to take away impurity.