On the first Sunday in every April, a magical holiday is celebrated in Japan. It calls attention to a body part that has been both hailed in moving pieces of music, meticulously theorized upon by Sigmund Freud and other misogynistic researchers, and chiseled off priceless works of art in moral outrage.
The festival is called the Kanamara Matsuri, which stands for “Festival of the Steel Phallus,” and it’s a festival of celebration of the penis. The festival has been held every year since 1977 at the Kanayama Shrine Kawasaki, Japan, where prostitutes go to pray for protection against sexually transmitted diseases and couples go to pray for happy marriages, healthy fertility and easy childbirth.
The world’s most famous sausage festival originally began in commemoration of the ancient Japanese legend that said a sharp-toothed demon (otherwise known as a vagina dentata) lived inside the vagina of a young woman, which then bit the penis off of two young men when they tried to have sex with her. So the young woman who had no desire to lose another would-be husband had a blacksmith create a giant penis out of iron to break the demon’s teeth, and it worked!
The Japanese erected a statue (come on, you knew that was coming) in honor of the heroic iron phallus, and now, here we are.
In commemoration of the event, the Japanese go all out. Bachelorette party hosts, take note. In addition to lugging around giant penises on their shoulders, they suck on penis-shaped lollipops, and drink out of penis-shaped straws. People wear penis hats and penis costumes. And if you want to show off your artistic side, there’s a radish-carving contest to see who can make the most anatomically correct penis out of a radish.
Best of all, according to Kanamara Matsuri organizers, proceeds from the festival go to help fund HIV research. That way, you can feel good about your visit to a Japanese phallic festival — knowing that the dollars you spent buying penis souvenirs, of which you will surely cherish forever, are going to help out a good cause.
Plus, you’ll get to see the shrine that keeps the sharp-toothed vagina demons away. And who doesn’t want that?
Kanamara Matsuri clearly puts all other American holidays to shame. But if you want to head over to Japan sometime to celebrate everyone’s favorite personal joystick, they’re already making plans for 2017. It’s definitely better than American holidays around the same time–such as April Fools’ Day disasters that apparently got people fired.