I learned about this celebration this very morning from a Japanese pattern maker I follow on Instagram: Hari-Kuyō, the Festival of Broken Needles. As Professor Wikipedia tells me,

Hari-Kuyō 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, plants, and objects 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.

Bent or dull pins and needles are stuck into a block of tofu or another soft food and then buried; people often pray for improved sewing skills, too.

Searching around, it seems like a lot of Western crafters have this on their radar already (needle maker Schmetz even has a blog post about it). Now that I do, too, maybe I’ll do something with the old pill container of used sewing machine needles I’ve been collecting.