Tokyo archbishop: Japanese Shinto celebrations a chance for evangelization

"However, despite the minuscule portion of the general population that actively affiliate themselves with Shinto temples and claim to abide by the Shinto worldview, around 70% of Japanese report participating in some annual Shinto ceremonies.

These ceremonies include Tanabata, the star festival, wherein families visit temples and shrines in order to write wishes on slips of paper and hang them from bamboo plants.

The festival’s mythology claims that the day is the annual meeting of two gods, one male and one female, who are separated lovers – Orihime and Hikoboshi. Tradition states that these two spirits are separated by the Milky Way, and that when there is no rain on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year, the two can be together.

The celebration is so widespread that even Tokyo Disneyland performs a special event for the day, casting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as the separated god and goddess in love."