Today is Hari-kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles, in Japan. Hari means needle, and Kuyou is a Buddhist memorial service. Although these memorial services are most often held for the spirits of the dead, they are also held to honor objects that have served people well. Objects are believed to have a spirit and soul just like people.
And so on February 8th for over 400 years, 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.