Shari over at Mumsyblossom’s World blog in Australia had a lovely little post about a Japanese festival that I had never heard of. Hari-Kuyou or Hari Kuyo is celebrated on February 8th, and is an ancient Jinja tradition to honor the service performed by needles and pins that have been broken or worn out.
According to Jinja traditions, non-living objects that are used well for a long time, say a hundred years, can acquire a soul. And in Buddhist and Shinto traditions, all things have a spirit, and should be valued. As I read it, things that have been well used and performed a valuable service can become Tsukumogami, or enchanted beings that live after these items have been used for ages. Today’s movies and graphic novels sometimes contain variations on these Tsukumogami, such as some characters in Pokemon, and the demons sent after Hellboy in the movie.
Tradition says that modern items can not become Tsukumogami, because they have touched electricity, which repels them. But each year on February 8th, tailors, seamstresses, and home sewers in Japan give honor to their spent needles and pins. They are placed in blocks of tofu, and brought to a Shinto shrine for a memorial service. The intent is to console the tools, which can no longer perform their service.
Which makes me wonder about the people who made the pins and needles in the first place, but that is a post for another day…
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