At the end of the New Year’s festivities, just as the hard work of the coming year is to begin once more, women gather at Buddhist temples with their worn-out pins and needles to offer them up in large blocks of tofu or jelly, adorned with ribbons and accompanied by the prayer chants of the temple monks. They show their gratitude and reverence for the collaborative work these things put into the labour performed by the human women. It is not only a utilitarian bond, but a personal and affective one, as well, a sympathy sutured by confidence and secrecy, as many women put their painful thoughts and feelings into the tools and entrust them to the gods.
-via The Presurfer
image from The Anthropo Eccentric
A few months ago, I read about the Japanese festival called Hari-Kuyo. On February 8th each year, many Japanese participate in the funerary rite for dull and broken needles.
Why would you do this?
I think Nicolas S. Anderson describes this best in this post, where he says:
When it comes to consumer electronics especially, we show no gratitude to these things that we lusted after in the weeks before their launches, that we had been told and then believed would make us better workers, better and closer friends, more intimate and considerate sons and daughters and moms and dads...
...What would it mean to ritualize the disposal of old, obsolete, or worn-out objects? Rather than dump them in landfills or send them for scrapping in some toxic village in Southern China or West Africa, what if we thanked with praise and reverence and ceremony in the yard or at a nearby church or temple?Those of us who frequent the thrift shops and antique malls and vintage shops, poking at the tables filled with little... things... tools, booklets, clips, cups, saucers... marvelling over old tables and chairs and plates... I think this is what we feel when we see them.
We revere the things that stand the test of time, and we respect what they have brought to the world by their existence.
So, in my own celebration of Hari-Kuyo, I pulled out some of my favourite used tools that I use regularly in my home, and took a little family photo of them. I came upon them all in thrift shops and vintage stores, and each time I found them, I felt like I'd found a treasure. I am grateful to be lucky enough to have them, and I am happy each time I get to use them.
Thanks, guys. You do a great job.