The Tanabata Matsuri celebrates a Chinese legend about two stars: Vega, a king’s daughter, who fell in love with Altair, a common herder. The king disapproved, so he formed the Milky Way between them. Once a year magpies are supposed to spread their wings across the universe so the lovers can meet – traditionally on 7 July (on the old lunar calendar).
Sendai's Tanabata sees the city's streets draped with displays of brightly coloured streamers. Festivities include parades and live performances, culminating in a mammoth fireworks display on the last night of the festival.