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We are having a Hari-Kuyō ceremony at our February meeting so save your bent and broken needles. In Japanese Shinto and Buddhist tradition, Hari-Kuyō is an annual memorial to celebrate the needles broken in the past year in creating needlework (traditionally kimono but as the years pass any kind of needle work). Women all over Japan bring their bent and broken needles to the temple to thank them for their hard work creating beautiful works of art and to pray for improved skills in the coming year.

Hari-Kuyō is officially celebrated on February 8th (or December 8th in some regions of Japan) but since that is a Wednesday we are going to celebrate it on our usual 1st Monday meeting date, February 6th. We are also going to do a modified Hari-Kuyō ceremony since the traditional ceremony involves floating a piece of flaming tofu full of old needles down a river. They don’t allow fire in the library and I don’t think any of the Texas authorities would look kindly upon us if we used the San Gabriel River to send our bent and broken needles on their way to wherever the river takes them (most likely Granger dam but eventually the Gulf of Mexico). We will just have a piece of tofu (homemade by Sarah’s brother/Cindy’s husband) in which to lay our bent and broken needles to rest.

There won’t be a program since traditionally you aren’t supposed to use a needle at all on the day of the festival. However, I think it would be alright with the applicable deities if you bring something small to stitch on since: 1) we aren’t having the ceremony on the actual date; 2) we are having the ceremony in the library not a Shinto or Buddhist shrine; and 3) we are doing a modified ceremony.

A good way to save your needles is to take an old pill bottle and drill a hole in the top just large enough to slip in the needles. It keeps them secure, and even if you don’t bring them to a Hari-Kuyō it’s a much safer way to dispose of them.