TOKYO: Thousands of Tokyo girls with broken needles pay homage to Asakusa's Awashima Shrine and give the needles a comfortable rest after their hard working life.
A priest dedicates the pray while hundred of girls attend.
Women attendants in the shrine.
Girls thrust their broken needles into the bean curd.
CU-bean with hundred of broken needles.
A woman receives an amulet.
Girls clad in kimono thrust the needles into the bean curd.
Several takes - bean curd.
Women pray before the shrines.
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Background: TOKYO: Thousands of Tokyo girls with broken needles pay homage to Asakusa's Awashima Shrine and give the needles a comfortable rest after their hard working life.
The ceremony called "Hari kuyo" is annually held in girls' schools and the certain shrines throughout the land. It is considered that the needle's life has been sacrificed in service. A big soft "Tofu" or bean curd is placed on a special altar into which the broken needles are thrust in order to give them a rest. It is believed that the needles sew up thousands of miles of materials for people's clothing and after their hard working some are broken and some are rusted but they would never find the place to rest.
The ceremony is said to have originated some 1,600 years ago in the reign of the Emperor Nintoku and is solemnized at the Awashima Shrines because the main Awashima Shrine, in Wakayama, is dedicated to this Emperor.
Tokyo women, most of them are dress makers or kimono makers, took out the broken needles from their needles box as to thrust into the Tofu paid the respect to the shrine and thanked the god and pray for better job in coming years. The broken needles are then taken out to the sea there the priest throw into the deep sea where the needles rest peacefully forever.