Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Festival of Broken Needles

Today is the Festival of Broken Needles in Japan.  This festival is a more than 400-year old tradition. 
 On February 8th each year, women gather  at shrines and temples to "bury" or "put to rest" their worn out needles. This ceremony is a way for the women to thank these needles and pins for their good service.  At the same time they also wish for progress with their needlework.
The ceremony has been described as funeral-like as the needles are put in soft jelly cakes or tofu. This act symbolizes bringing rest to the needles for their faithful service.

It is also thought that sorrows  the women carry are  often passed to the needles as they stitch.  The needles, in turn, are thought to take away the burden of some of sorrows.   Maybe by burying their needles, they are also able to bury their sorrows.

Perhaps you would enjoy learning more about this festival by reading this article, and there are lots of photos here.


Margaret said...

I had heard about this festival before and think it is so neat. Thanks for the reminder -- I never remember what day it is.

natalyK said...

Thanks for the info! I may have to hav a festival of my own.

Lisa S said...

That is very interesting Ellen! I've never heard of it before.Thanks for enlightening me :)

Anne said...

Wow! I like that festival a lot. Hmmm, maybe I'll bury a few of my worn out needles today!!

Mouse said...

its a wonderful idea ... will remember to save any I break for next year as not got one this time :)love mouse xxxxx

Thomasina said...

How interesting. I broke the eye out of a needle the other night and just threw it in the trash. If I would have known about this....I might too have buried my needle in the back yard. Will have to wait til next year.
Thank you for sharing.

diamondc said...

Ellen: My husband in his youth lived in Japan for 2 years, he always wondered about this festival, his girlfriend at that time did this festival, he thought it odd I donot I like the idea.

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Very interesting ~ I never heard of this. Thanks for sharing!
Prim Blessings

JoAnn said...

Ellen, thanks for sharing this lovely tradition. I will remember it whenever a needle has outlived it's usefulness.

Many years ago my son died and to keep busy I turned to needlework, so needles have truly been a blessing to me. JoAnn