2015 / Nisei Week / For celebrating celestial rendezvous, Tanabata ornate streamers on view, Closing Aug 15-17

2015 LA Tanabata Festival (Cultural News Photo)

Opening Ceremony, Friday, August 14, 5PM -8PM


Dubbed as summer Christmas trees, bamboo trees will be decorated with kazari or ornate steamers for celebrating a celestial rendezvous on the seventh day of the seventh month according to an Asian mythology. The ritual with bamboo trees has been called Tanabata, and the largest Tanabata festival in Japan has been held in the city of Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture since the 1600s.

In Sendai currently, the prominent centerpieces of the Tanabata are displayed along streets and markets.

With helps from people in Sendai, three Japanese organizations – Nanka Kenjin Kyogikai or the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California, the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association or Koban, and the Nisei Week Foundation – started the annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo in 2007 to coincide with the Nisei Week Japanese Festival.

The 2015 Los Angeles Tanabata Festival will take place during Aug. 14 – 17 at adjacent space to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Geffen) in Little Tokyo.

Under theme of “Heart & Soul,” hundreds of seven-foot height kazari from Japanese communities in Los Angeles and the ten best kazari of the 2014 Sendai Tanabata Festival will be unveiled at the 5:00 pm opening ceremony on Friday, Aug. 14. This year’s Tanabata festival will honor Sendai businessman Ichiro Shiromatsu who has supported Los Angeles event since 2009.

Tanabata stage programs will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 11 am – 9 pm, and Sunday, Aug. 16, from 11 am – 5 pm. Kazari will continue on view on Monday, Aug. 17, from 11 am – 3 pm. The kazari viewing and festival stage programs are open to the public and admission free. Foods, games, and beer booths will be set next to kazari displays. For details of stage programs, visit www.tanabatalosangeles.org