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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What is this woman doing with her old pins and needles?

Look here for a blog post explaining a festival celebrated annually on February 8th.

Known as the Festival of Broken Needles, it is a ritual of thanks and respect for tools of the sewing, tailoring and embroidery trades. It dates back 1500 years; women (and men) dress in fine kimono and gather together all of the needles they've used, broken and/or and worn out during the previous year. They proceed to the local temple or shrine, where a three-tiered altar is prepared. The lower level displays sewing accessories, such as scissors, thimbles, thread and so forth. The top tier offers seasonal fruit, and white mochi (ceremonial rice cake offerings). In the center section is a large slab of tofu, into which everyone plunges the pieces of their broken needles.

It is time to slow down and appreciate the small things we take for granted in our lives.

I remember being told that needles were very precious to the early pilgrims, they were treasured and shared as they were few in number!


Janet said...

I learned something today! I never heard of this tradition before but I think it's rather beautiful to celebrate something that people usually take for granted.

Jo (Pieceful Afternoon) said...

Amazing ritual. My granny had ONE needle. She kept it pinned in the lapel of her dress and would whip it out when she needed to mend or stitch something. It amazed me, even as a kid, that she never lost that needle in the washing machine or forgot to switch it to her next dress. She told us that she had that needle so long and had sharpened it so much (rubbed it on emery cloth) that it was shorter than when she first got it. And how many needles have I lost over the years??

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