This Sunday (July 7th) is Tanabata, or Star Festival, in Japan. The story is that two deities up in the stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi, meet and fall in love, get married, but get lazy with their duties afterward. She stops making beautiful clothes and he stops tending to his cows. So her father separates them. Eventually, he feels bad for his daughter, and tells her she can meet with her love once a year as long as she works hard. There's another element to the story, though - they're separated by the milky way and a vast river, and there is no bridge. A flock of birds agree to form a bridge for her, but it's said that they won't come if it's a rainy day. So she'll only get to see her love on the appointed day if the weather is clear.
Tanabata is an old story that was imported from China really, but it's celebrated widely in Japan and there are different customs attached to it. The big one is making wish trees out of bamboo, and hanging papers from it with your hopes and wishes written on them. They look pretty, and the paper is all colorful.
At my school, we celebrated with a star-themed lunch. The main dish was croquette with salad, some soup on the side, rice, and jell-o for dessert. The croquette was star-shaped, the soup had star-shaped cutouts (macaroni as well as a sort of ground fish similar to naruto), and the jell-o had a yellow and blue layer (it looks green straight on, though), with a shooting star on top. Everything was absolutely delicious, and the soup even had chunks of okra in it, which looks a bit like a star when it's cut.
There was a green packet there on the tray - that had a bit of sauce in it for the croquette. Everything was so great that I got carried away and accidentally ate everything on the tray, including all my rice. I was so stuffed afterwards.. haha. And to top it off, everyone in the office was in a great mood - we had extra chocolates and even cake later in the afternoon to jointly celebrate Tanabata and one of our staff's birthday. Overall, a very calorically irresponsible day.
Calorie count (only for the lunch tray...): 679