The annual Japanese festival known as The Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival is all about crying kids! No no, don’t take me wrong – they are held in an open-air sumo ring. Oh, do not overanalyze, I won’t confuse you anymore. The Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival is a ‘crying match’ where babies are held by sumo-wrestlers in those sumo rings and the first one to cry is declared as the winner.
It is an annual event that is held in the Shinto Shrines of Japan in between late April to early first week of May. The traditional Naki Sumo festival takes place at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. This bizarre yet intriguing Japanese practice is hundreds of years old and stems from a simple phrase saying, “Naku ko wa sodatsu,” meaning “crying babies grow fat”.
It originated in the folklore where they believed that an innocent baby crying loudly can send and scare the demons and evil spirits away. It has been around for 400 years and continues to prevail. The sumo referee is supposed to make the tiny babies cry through different and varied methods that are obviously not cruel, the most common being chanting ‘Naki-Naki’ i.e. ‘cry-cry’!
Are you wondering what happens if there is a tie? Because I did wonder about that! Well, here is what happens, in case both the babies start crying at the same time, which by the way happens often as the kids are being held by heavy men, above the dohyo, with thousands of people staring at them, the winner is decided by the intensity of the cry i.e. how loud the crying is! My god!
Although my advice to you is to not try it with your kids. Smiley kids are cute and a blessing too but do check this festival out if you go to Japan!
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