In another display of unusual events, Japan celebrated last Sunday the Festival of the Steel Phallus. The annual event held in Kawasaki praises the sex organ and the fertility it brings.
Known locally as the Kanamara Matsuri, the festival features all sorts of depictions of a phallus—an erect pecker—with giant sculptures of such paraded as the highlight of the celebration.
There are also other penis-themed attractions on the side, complete with illustrations, radish carvings, and other decorations—all in the name of fun and fertility.
But among the most popular attractions are the dong-shaped confectionaries that girls (and some boys) flock to buy, gamely take pictures with, and eat.
The festival undoubtedly brings a lot of fun and enjoyment to locals and foreigners alike but it is actually used as a stage to raise awareness for HIV and safe sex practices. Part of the profit earned during the festival also goes to support HIV prevention.
The festival traces its roots to 17th century folklore, where a sharp-toothed demon housed himself inside the vagina of a woman he fell in love with, biting off any penis that gets too near.
The woman then contracted the services of a blacksmith, who forged a one-meter steel phallus that broke the teeth of the demon.
Today, the legend remains alive and its festival attracts couples who pray for fertility and protection from sexual diseases.
Photos via Pinterest, Un Gaijin Au Japon, Stanflouride, Panoramio