Thursday, February 08, 2007

for those no longer about to sew, we salute you

Today was a really good day around our household. Everybody was in a great mood. Finn was geegle-eagle-geegle-gee-ing around with a big grin on his face, standing up all by himself awesomely in his candy-colored stripey pants with the orange hippo on the butt, and the rest of us were just swinging along sweet as honey. My plaid rainboots arrived and they fit me perfectly.

My brother noted what a good day it was, and posited that the good vibes might be due to the fact that it's needle honoring day.

I was like, wha?

He explained that it's an old Buddhist tradition on this particular day to honor old broken sewing needles for their service. He said that the old needle parts are stuck into some tofu (!) and put on an altar and blessed.

Well, here:

Feb 8: Needle Memorial

In Japan, in a ritual that goes back 1500 years, women dress in kimonos and take the sewing needles that have broken in the previous year to the local Buddhist shrine where a three-tiered altar has been set up. The lower tier displays sewing accessories: scissors, thimbles, thread, etc. The top tier holds offerings of seasonal fruit and white mochi. On the center tier is a vast slab of tofu into which the broken needles are plunged. Priests sing sutras to comfort the needles, heal their broken spirits and thank them for work well done. No sewing takes place on this day.

Now, I don't know if that 's why we were feeling so grand around these parts, but I'll say this: learning about this needle memorial only upped the good vibes in my own personal airspace.

I'm not a Buddhist, but damn it, here's to Buddhism. Of all the major religions, Buddhism has wrought the least harm in the world. It's such a reasonable and non-pugilistic creed. And that needle business is charming in the extreme.


Jessica Leader said...

I salute you in your salutation of needles! That is a darned interesting fact.

And a needle in tofu! What could be more incongruous? I really can't think of anything.

Reb and Heidi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reb and Heidi said...

The other night in the dressing room before the show, I got a broken needle stuck in my foot! Rather than being carefully plunged into a vast slab of tofu to receive it honors, it had simply been forgotten there on the floor.

Honor the needle, protect the foot.

Thank you, Buddhism.

Ash said...

I sew a LOT and I can't remember the last time I broke a needle. I guess I am not a very aggressive seamstress?