Today is the Festival of Broken Needles. At one time, this Japanese Buddhist festival was honored only by tailors, now however it is celebrated by many who enjoy the art of the needle. I have adopted this festival as one of my own because of my interest and love of embroidery and hand sewing. Embroidery is a favorite pursuit of mine, however I love sewing by hand, even repairing a seam or sewing on a button is, for me, a great pleasure. I have found two dates for this celebration: December 18th and February 8th. I celebrate on both dates. After all, I use many needles throughout the year
I gather my broken, bent, and/or used needles, end bits of threads from my embroidery, small scraps of fabric, and an offering of seeds, fruit, or bread. I give thanks to my needles for the work they have done as well as the goddesses that inspire my creativity. I bury the needles and place the small bits of thread, AKA "orts", on my hedge, hopefully to be used by birds or other animals for nests. The food offering is left in a sacred place near my hedge. I then return to my hearth, light candles for inspiration, and bless new packets of needles. I usually work on some embroidery as well and consider what a joyous little tool my needle is, how lucky I am to find such comfort and happiness in this art. A simple, but satisfying ritual.
While this festival is based on Japanese tradition, this particular ritual is my own creation.