Saturday 22 February 2020
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Ten events not to miss in April

Kanamara Matsuri – 6 April 2014

Literally the “Festival of the Iron Phallus”, this holiday in Kawasaki, Japan celebrates – you guessed it – male genitalia and fertility. Legend has it that in the 17th Century, prostitutes would pray for protection at Kawasaki’s Kanamara shrine (today, the festival celebrates fertility, relationships and safe sexual practices, including AIDS prevention). The pinnacle of the festival involves carrying an altar in the shape of a penis to the shrine, followed by a parade in which both men and women dress in women’s kimonos and carry wooden penises. Nearly everything in the festival is in the shape of a phallus, from hats to sweets. (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty)

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