Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hari Kuyo

February 8th is the Festival of the Broken Needles in Japan. In this 400 year old ritual, stitchers gather at Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines to leave their broken needles in a bed of soft tofu. It’s thought to be a way of thanking the needles for their usefulness. Kimono makers in Tokyo gather at the shrines to pray to improve their kimono making skills as well.  As fewer women wear kimonos, fewer people take up the skills needed to make kimonos, and the Hari Kuyo festivals have dwindled.

I found an interesting explanation of Hari Kuyo at  . Women have many secret sorrows in their lives. These sorrows are passed to the needles while stitching, taking on the burdens of the sorrow from the stitcher.  Putting the needles to rest is done in appreciation for the service of these needles. I think many stitchers find a calming effect in their stitching and can understand the thought of the needles taking on the burdens of their sorrow as they stitch.

I asked my friend Kyoko San about a local ceremony.  She asked everyone she knew about it and emailed me that “the shrine staff told me that last Sunday two groups came to the shrine to have the purification for the old needles stuck on the tofu or kyonnyaku (devil's tongue) because of their convenience.” Thank you Kyoko San for this information. I hope to attend the ceremony next year!

The work of my needles
I finished this Hardanger heart ornament yesterday afternoon.

Before dinner, I pulled out this button and bead necklace project. 

Sherri Hagar from the Florence EGA chapter taught it at a region meeting.  I didn’t take the class because I was in a different class at the time, but I did get the kit and started the project before putting it away unfinished.  I worked on it in the evening and finished it before going to bed.  I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Hokkaido weather report
It didn’t snow Monday night, which was lucky for us because Tuesday morning was our day to shovel.  It was above freezing and the snow that fell early in the day yesterday was fine and misty.  As the sun went down, the temperature did also and the snow turned to big fat flakes.  This morning it is snowing very hard and blowing – the most blizzard-like I’ve seen here. It must be the beginning of Spring!

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