10 Bizarre Photos From Japan’s Annual Penis Festival

Yes, this is a real thing.

Celebrating penises is a real thing. And while Westerners are still being shy about it, the people of Kawasaki, Japan, have been embracing dicks at the annual Festival of the Steel Phallus (Kanamara Matsuri) since 1977.

Penis-worshipers parade through the streets of the small a suburb of Tokyo, carrying candy, lollipops, balloons, purses and even dick-shaped carved radishes, all in the shape of male genitals. The festival’s biggest draw includes portable worshiping shrines of gigantic pink, orange and black phalluses floating through the crowd.

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The festival’s origin can be traced back to the 17th Century, when a local blacksmith constructed a meter-long “Steel Phallus” to honor Shinto, the goddess of fertility and childbirth.

Dick jokes and fun aside, the festival has also served a noble purpose—to raise awareness for HIV prevention. And that’s something we can definitely get behind.

h/t Huffington Post