On April 3rd, 2016, the world famous and one of a kind “Kanamara Festival” took place at Kanayama shrine in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. This annual festival, which is held on the first Sunday of April every year, is famous for its Penis shaped portable shrines, which the locals carry throughout the city. People come to the festival to pray to find a partner or to get pregnant. Of late, it has also become known for running campaigns to raise awareness about safe sex practices as well as fundraisers for HIV research. This rather unique way of praying is said to have begun in the Edo period, when prostitutes prayed for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. They would lie on straw mats with the belief that by doing so, their body would return to normal the way a sprout grows anew in the spring.
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