Japanese interpreter and Early Leaning Languages Australia educator Yuka Thomson with the help of Council celebrated the Japanese cultural event the Star Festival with C&K Forestview Kindergarten.
Yuka, who has lived in the Bundaberg Region for more than 20 years, said during the current COVID-19 situation it was a good time for the children to think about their “happy wishes” and with the Star Festival, which is also known as Tanabata, celebrations this month the timing was right.
Tanabata is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year, depending on which calendar is used, when, according to a Chinese legend, two stars, Altair and Vega, which are usually separated from each other by the Milky Way, meet and can be seen together from Earth.
Yuka said traditionally during this time of year people would write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them on bamboo trees, along with decorations, and this can be seen almost everywhere in her home country of Japan.
After visiting Bundaberg Botanic Gardens Yuka requested to use some of the bamboo to allow the C&K Forestview Kindergarten children to decorate with their handmade paper ornaments.
Yuka said some of the children had never seen bamboo before and they all enjoyed celebrating the Star Festival together.
“I wanted to introduce some kind of Japanese traditional cultural event as a kindy activity when it came to the right timing,” Yuka said.
“I thought especially, the Star Festival is the best event to do with children and families while we are in this difficult time with so many fun family events being cancelled because of COVID-19.
“Many people included little children may be confused, anxious and lost hope for the future, so, I wanted the kindy children and the family to have an opportunity to think about their happy wishes together for their bright future while they are experience Japanese Star Festival, Tanabata.”
Yuka has fond memories of the Star Festival
Yuka said as a young child she had fond memories celebrating the Star Festival and she hoped the children would cherish these memories as much as she did.
“I was so happy to be able to celebrate Tanabata, from the preparation of making origami paper ornaments for Tanabata bamboo tree decorations with the children, and it wasn’t success without a wonderful Forestview teaching staff team,” she said.
“Don’t forget to look up the night sky on 7 July during the school holidays.
“If you see the brightest star, that would be your wish star!”
C&K Forestview Kindergarten director Louise Stellard said it was lovely Yuka shared the special Japanese Tanabata festival with the families.
“We are so blessed to have Mrs Yuka as part of our educational team to not only support children on their learning journey,” Louise said.
“We were then individually greeted by Mrs Yuka wearing her traditional Summer Japanese clothing – Yukata (dress) and Zouri (shoes) worn at special events such as this.
“Mrs Yuka was so excited to receive our wishes, reading each individual one with us and helping us carefully attach them to the bamboo tree.
“A bamboo tree is used as they reach so high up into the sky and their tall extending limbs are believed to send our wishes up to the stars where we hope they will come true.”