Tanabata (Star Festival) Origami Workshop
It starts as a simple square piece of paper, and soon it becomes a crane, flower, turtle, or nearly anything else. In Japan, these little pieces of art are woven into so many parts of everyday life. As preschoolers, children learn to fold origami to develop fine motor skills, concentration, and preparation for math. Senior citizens often use origami as a tool to stay mentally sharp.
Mostly, though, origami is used to celebrate life and bring joy to others. Famously, 1000 origami cranes are given to boost someone with a health challenge. Origami is also used to add color to the time of year. School children learn to fold origami for every holiday and season, such as New Year, Valentines Day, Girls Day, Cherry Blossom season (Sakura), Children’s Day, Mother’s Day, Star Festival (Tanabata), Summer Festival (Matsuri), Fall, and Christmas.
In our time together, we will create origami to celebrate Tanabata, a supernatural love story. According to this modified Chinese legend, the two lovers are represented by stars, hence the Star Festival. The woman was an important weaver and the man a hard-working cow herder. They met, fell in love, married, and soon neither could get their work done! This angered the woman’s father, the powerful Sky King who separated them. However, the passion of his daughter’s wish moved him, and he granted they could unite once a year if they completed their work. To celebrate this story, people in Japan write their own wishes on colored paper and typically tie them to bamboo trees. You can see variations of this in malls, grocery stores, and other public places.
Today we will make Tanabata origami with the hopes that your own passionate wishes come true!
Origami (if possible one side is color and other side is white)
Pen or pencil
Tamiyo Hendricks is the creator of the YouTube channel Origami Tami, which teaches how to fold origami while also teaching Japanese and English words and phrases. The videos are carefully designed so people of all ages and levels can understand and learn both the art and the phrases. The channel’s unique approach and quirky charm gained it a quick following, especially after being referenced by prominent Japanese organizations such as:
Before becoming Origami Tami in late 2020, Tamiyo worked, and still works, as a Japanese tutor. Her most important pupils are her two middle school kids, who speak only Japanese to her. Prior to marrying an American and moving to the United States, Tamiyo grew up in Saitama, Japan, and earned a primary school teaching license. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, despite her irrational fear of insects.
You can reach Tamiyo at [email protected]