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    Kanamara Matsuri

    Thousands Celebrate 'Steel Penis' Festival in Japan (PHOTO, VIDEO)

    CC BY 2.0 / Guilhem Vellut / Kanamara Festival
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    The Japanese celebrate the festival annually by marching through the streets with giant phalluses, as well as phallus-styled lollipops, candies and costumes. While many foreigners smile at the bizarre tradition, it is deeply rooted in old Japanese legends.

    Kanamara Matsuri, or the Festival of the Steel Phallus, is celebrated on the first Sunday of April each year at the Kanayama Shrine in Japan's province of Kawasaki. On this day, the key "figure" can be seen everywhere, with even food, such as candies, lollipops and vegetables being phallus-shaped. It seems as though it doesn't bother anybody, as many people can be seen eating them.

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    But it doesn't stop there — several giant penises were also marching through the streets. Some people even went so far as to wear phallus-themed costumes.

    READ MORE: Naked Fury: Thai Locals Outraged at Nude Tourist Humping Venerated Penis Rock

    The strange festival actually has religious roots. It is believed that a sharp-toothed demon once "inhabited" the vagina of a young woman whom he loved, and would use his teeth to castrate any "intruders." The desperate woman asked a resourceful blacksmith for help and he forged a steel phallus for her. The demon received a huge bill from his dentist and the steel phallus was installed in the Kanayama Shrine.

    People would visit the shrine to ask for protection against sexually transmitted diseases, as well as for quick and easy child birth, harmony in couple's relationship and prosperity. Now it is mostly a tourist attraction and location where the festival is organized.

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    shrine, legends, penis, festival, Japan
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