WEIRD NEWS
04/03/2018 02:22 pm ET

This Annual Penis Festival In Japan Is About More Than Just Giant Schlongs

The annual event raises awareness about safe sex and money for HIV charities.

An event in Kawasaki, Japan, aroused lots of interest last weekend. Of course, that’s to be expected with a festival dedicated to the male sex organ.

Kanamara Matsuri, aka the Festival of the Steel Phallus, has been a spring tradition since 1969.

  • <a href="http://www.fest300.com/festivals/kanamara-matsuri">Kanamara Matsuri</a>, aka the Festival of the Steel Phallus, has
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    Kanamara Matsuri, aka the Festival of the Steel Phallus, has been a spring tradition since 1969.The phallic festival is a spiritual event celebrating both the penis and fertility.
  • Held annually on the first Sunday of April, participants parade gigantic phallic-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrines), su
    Getty Images
    Held annually on the first Sunday of April, participants parade gigantic phallic-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrines), suck on penis lollipops, pose with sex-organ-shaped sculptures and get their hands on whatever penis-shaped souvenirs they can grab.
  • As many as <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2018/04/01/thousands-people-flocked-japan-celebrate-penis-7432710/">50,000 people atte
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    As many as 50,000 people attend the penis festival, which, these days, teaches visitors about safe-sex practices and raises funds for HIV charities, according to the Metro.
  • The penis festival has roots in the 1600s, when Kawasaki sex workers would worship at the Kanayama Shrine <a href="http://www
    Carl Court via Getty Images
    The penis festival has roots in the 1600s, when Kawasaki sex workers would worship at the Kanayama Shrine praying for protection from STDs, according to Newsweek.
  • These days, people still attend the festival to pray for good fortune and ask for protection from the gods.&nbsp;
    Carl Court via Getty Images
    These days, people still attend the festival to pray for good fortune and ask for protection from the gods. 
  • &ldquo;The festival is steeped in the past,but&nbsp;<a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/penis-festival-steel-phallu
    Carl Court via Getty Images
    “The festival is steeped in the past,but still has a valuable part to play in modern society,” Hiroyuki Nakamura, a priest at the shrine, explained last year.
  • Carl Court via Getty Images
  • The festival is partly inspired by a legend about a sharp-toothed demon who planted itself in a woman&rsquo;s vagina after sh
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    The festival is partly inspired by a legend about a sharp-toothed demon who planted itself in a woman’s vagina after she rejected him.
  • The demon repeatedly bit the penis of the woman&rsquo;s husband until she paid a blacksmith to create a steel phallus hard en
    Carl Court via Getty Images
    The demon repeatedly bit the penis of the woman’s husband until she paid a blacksmith to create a steel phallus hard enough to break the demon’s teeth, according to the South China Morning Post.
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