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Japan’s giant wooden penis parade: Newlyweds gather for truly bizarre festival (VIDEO)

Japan’s giant wooden penis parade: Newlyweds gather for truly bizarre festival (VIDEO)
Huge crowds flocked to the western Japanese city of Nagaoka Sunday to take part in a bizarre annual festival that sees women ride through the city streets on a giant wooden penis.

Dozens of newlywed women, some in traditional Japanese dress, sat atop the giant phallus which, according to tradition, brings marital bliss, fertility and good luck during the Hodare Festival held each year.

The giant member, 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) in length and weighing a hefty 600 kg (1,323 lbs), is paraded through the streets of the city during the festival while crowds cheer and chant.

Hodare means both “male genitals” and “the ripening of rice plants” in Japanese, and the celebration carries religious significance for locals who believe that praying and touching the giant penis will ensure good fortune.

The festival was originally a small village celebration but it has grown into a much larger event that draws large crowds of visitors.

Similar festivals are held around Japan in early spring each year, with some dating as far back as the 17th century. The festival in Nagaoka, which is considered one of the biggest, takes place on the second Sunday in March each year.

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