I was pretty sure that this was an April Fool type o’ shenanigan when I spotted it on Twitter (courtesy of @JapaneseFood):
Kanamara Matsuri or “Festival of the Steel Phallus” is an annual Shinto par-tay that occurs sometime in the early weeks of April. Images of the sacred wang adorn everything, from clothing to balloons, food to puppets. The poster above is from a NYC event of the same nature. Wikipedia says of the wacky Japanese celebration:
“The Kanamara Matsuri is centered around a local penis-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. It is said that there are divine protections also in business prosperity and the clan’s prosperity, easy delivery, marriage, and married couple harmony. There is also a legend of a sharp-toothed demon that hid inside the vagina of a young girl and castrated two young men on their wedding nights (vagina dentata). As a result, the young girl sought help with a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, leading to the enshrinement of the item.”
You’ve got to watch out for those crazy clam dentures, yo.
This dude has some interesting pictures of the parade in Japan.