Each and every culture are known to have a unique set of rituals and festivals, so it didn't surprise me when I saw the Daily Mail publish an article looking into the Japanese annual penis festival - also known as the Kanamara Matsuri festival.
The story behind this festival is about a jealous sharp-toothed demon believed to be hiding in the vagina of a woman he fell for. Out of jealousy, it was believed that this demon bit off the penises of two men. In an attempt to resolve this, the woman asked a blacksmith to use an iron phallus to break the teeth of the demon, which the blacksmith successfully accomplished. Thus, making the phallic object worthy of a shrine.
People believe this festival is associated with fertility, luck and mental success. It is also believed that this ritual would shield against the contraction of sexually transmitted infections. This centuries' old tradition is generally held in early spring and is symbolic of new life.
After reading about the Kanamara Matsuri festival, I found myself interested in other festivals and rituals that may be engaged in around the world in an attempt to aid fertility - here's what I found:
- In Zimbabwe, it is believed the baboon urine encapsulates a wide variety of hormones known to be beneficial to the fertility of both men and women. Thus, drinking this urine is believed to enhance fertility. A cocktail of baboon urine with beer to aid parenthood is also common in Zimbabwe - It is, however, to be acknowledged that medical professionals in Africa are strongly encouraging avoiding this ritual.
- Greece is the home to yet another fertility festival, known as the Annual Phallus Festival. This festival involves eating penis shaped bread and kissing a giant phallic statue.
- The Ambubachi Mela held annually in India is a festival held to symbolise menstruation. The legend behind this festival tells the story of Lord Shiva entering into a fit of rage when his wife jumped into a fire following an altercation with her father. When carrying the body of his beloved, it was believed Lord Shiva dropped parts of her body which fell back down to earth. In light of this, The Kamakhya Temple in Assam (East India) was built where her vagina was believed to have fallen. Every year the temple remains closed for three days and is believed to turn red to symbolise menstruation. Legend explains that the goddess in this temple is known as the goddess of procreation and fertility and visiting this temple over this festival is believed to enhance fertility.
- The Chao Mae Tuptim located in Bangkok, Thailand is also known as the lingam fertility shrine. It is believed a female spirit resides near this tree and those who visit this tree will be blessed with fertility. Many women visit this tree to offer phallic shaped gifts in exchange for blessings from this spirit to help them conceive.
Are there any other interesting fertility related festivals or rituals you know of? If so, get in touch! Tweet me @Infertility247