Holidays and Festivals：Summer
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July Summer Vacation
In Nishiokoppe, summer vacation begins the last week in July and lasts about three and a half weeks. During the first ten days of vacation, children gather each morning at 6:30 to perform calisthenics. Kids also have plenty of homework to do over vacation!
Tanabata is a summer holiday based on a myth about two lovers who were turned to stars and separated by the Milky Way. On the night of Tanabata, it is believed that the lovers are able to be reunited for one night. On Hokkaido, Tanabata is celebrated on August 7th. The children gather at the elementary at dusk for a fireworks display followed by the lighting of sparklers. Afterwards the children, carrying traditional paper lanterns, travel from house to house in groups demanding candy. Their chant translates as: “Candles, candles, give us candles, or we will scratch your face and bite you!” Instead of candles, the children receive candy, snacks, soda pop and other treats. This trick-or-treat like custom is only practiced on Hokkaido.