Size Matters: World’s Most Unusual Festival
Shinto Kanamara Matsuri, in Japan, started nearly 40 years ago, as a small tradition but has grown into a popular tourist attraction; know as the Festival of the Steel Phallus. Participants pray to a god of fertility and protection from sexually transmitted infections.
This festival is held every spring at the phallus-shaped Kanayama Shrine while spectators lick lollies and snack on sausages or vegetables shaped as male and female genitalia.
It’s a sight that draws giggles and stares from tourists and all first-timers as the residents of Kawasaki carry gigantic phallus through the streets. For the residents in this city however, this festival, where erotic shapes of all sizes are carried through the streets, is a tradition and not a joke. This festival is commemorated in honour of a god of fertility, and today participants pray for everything from fertility, childbirth and protection from sexually transmitted infections to business prosperity to wedded bliss and good health.
In addition, in this parade there are performances and music, and the festival itself raises money and awareness for HIV research.