In Japan, Hari Kuyō, or Needle Memorial Services, are held at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to give thanks to needles for their hard work throughout the year. A tradition from the Heian period usually attended by seamstresses and housewives, it aligns with the Japanese concept of not simply throwing items away, but properly disposing of them in a way that seems respectful.
At Hōrin-ji temple in Arashiyama on December 8th, attendees, mostly women, come to pay their respects. In the temple’s main hall a service is held by the monks to symbolically lay the needles to rest, and lucky paper amulets are distributed to attendees quick enough to get one. Four women dressed in Nara period attire perform an Orihime Dance in honor of Orihime, the heavenly weaver as an offering before the altar, and attendees are encouraged to take one of the needles laid out and place them in large blocks of konyaku jelly with a prayer. It's said Hōrin-ji's ceremony was started for needles used in the imperial household, and they still perform this service for such needles to this day.
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