Harikuyo (Memorial Service for Needles)
Do you sew clothing for yourself using needle and thread?
In Japan, sewing was an essential part of everyday life long time ago.
On February 8, women took a day off from their sewing responsibilities and collected the old needles they had used during the previous year. This memorial service for needles is called “Harikuyo” (針供養).
People stuck the needles into a block of tofu or other soft things like cakes of konnyaku (gelatin made from the root of a plant called devil’s tongue). They gave thanks and offered prayers for the repose of the needles. They also prayed for improvement in their sewing skills.
There are some shrines today that perform memorial services for needles. This important tradition is still kept at schools which teach kimono-sewing skills and also at dressmaking schools.
Since my son entered kindergarten, I have more opportunities to sew. To be honest, I’m not good at sewing, but I want to do my best as much as I can. With that in mind, I prepared tofu and konnyaku and offered this event.