Hari-Kuyo is the Japanese Buddhist and Shinto Festival of Broken Needles, celebrated on February 8 in the Kanto region, but on December 8 in the Kyoto and Kansai regions. It is celebrated by women in Japan as a memorial to all the needles broken in their service during the past year, and as an opportunity to pray for improved skills. It is also called the Needle Mass and Pin Festival. "Hari" means "needle" and the suffix "-kuyou" means "memorial."
Hari-Kuyo began four hundred years ago as a way for housekeepers and professional needle-workers to acknowledge their work over the past years and respect their tools. In the animist traditions, items as well as humans, animals and plants are considered to have souls. This festival acknowledged the good given to people by their tools. Practitioners went to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to thank their broken needles for their help and service. This is in keeping with the philosophy of "not wasting" or "paying honor to the small things" exemplified in the concept of mottainai.