A Salute to the Male Organ

In different parts of the world, festivals are staged for various reasons.  Generally, the reasons include thanksgiving for bountiful harvest, honoring saints and local heroes, showcasing local products, and remembering culture and traditions.  However, there are also places in the world which have weird reasons.  Take for example the Penis Festival in Japan. Every year during March 15, a little town in Nagoya called Komaki holds “Hounin or Kanamara Matsuri,” otherwise called “Penis Festival.”

Originally, the festival was celebrated to commemorate the legend about the defeat of a female demon which bites male organs.  The monks at that time manufactured a male organ made of steel and it caused to break the teeth of the female demon.” According to folklore, the festival find its origin way back in 1500 when a local maiden named Tamahime, a daughter of a rich man in Komaki, married a prince. While she married her prince husband, she chose to stay in Komaki to help her father develop their hometown. Each year then, Tamahime received the harvest of their subjects and a
600 pound penis effigy.

Fast forward to the present, the festival begins with a procession at two in the afternoon. A huge penis carved from a cypress tree approximately weighing four hundred kilos is paraded from one place of worship to another.  It is carried by nearly sixty strong males who occasionally stops to spin the huge phallus amid cheers and yells from the adoring crowd.  It is a requirement though that the male couriers of the phallus must be over forty years old and women who carry smaller penises must be at least thirty three years old.  These ages are considered to be unlucky because according to traditional beliefs, when you add two numbers it itranslated as “to die or disaster.”

After the parade, local folks and tourists have plenty of fun to choose from. There is a rice ball throwing rite.  Live bands are set up in strategic places where beer and food are served. There are also stalls that sell delicacies and candies shaped like a penis including pink penis lollipops and popsicles. At the culmination of the rites, three miniature shrines are paraded with a molded penis inside. People can have a closer look with the carved penis and rub or hug it. 

Penis Festival in Japan
Due to its popularity around Japan, the festival is now used to create awareness on issues like sexually transmitted diseases.  In fact, a lot of fund raising activities for AIDS research are conducted during the festivities.  Traditionally, the festival is not a salute to the male organ but rather it is to signify fertility and growth.  The phallus is deemed to be a symbol of growth in Japan.  Over the years, the festival has turned from a cultural tradition to a penis celebration. People can have a grand time playing with, rubbing against, and hugging the wooden effigy as well as its smaller version.  Locals and tourists are more excited to see the latest penis like stuffs sold or given as freebies.  

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