Only in Japan: An anual baby crying contest among sumo wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers trying to get baby's to cry at the Nakizumo-Festival in Tokyo.

Sumo wrestlers trying to get baby’s to cry at the Nakizumo-Festival in Tokyo.

Every spring Japan organizes the Nakizumo Festival or the annual crying baby competition, with babies being given by their parents to sumo wrestlers who try to make the little ones cry as loud as they can.

The contest is a 400-year-old tradition in Japan and is seen as a high point of spring, according to the international press.

The tradition says that the louder a baby cries, the healthier the baby will grow and the more he or she will be blessed. It is also believed that a loud cry will scare the evil spirits away.

During the contest, two sumo wrestlers face one another, holding the babies and trying to make them cry. The one who makes the baby cry first wins the contest and if the two babies start crying at the same time, the one who cries the loudest is the winner.

If the little ones do not seem to be bothered by the sumo wrestlers’ efforts, there is also a priest there who shouts and waves at the babies as they are held in the air, so their cries are closer to heaven.

The event is held every April in Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple. This year, 80 babies were involved, all of them under a year old.

Categories: Japanese customs, Stories about Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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