by Men's Health Clinic
2023 is almost done, and 2024 is just around the corner. Our previous entries mostly tackled men’s health issues such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Today, we’re going a bit more festive in line with the holiday season while also preparing you for what’s in store next year. This time, we’re talking about festivities around the world that feature phallic imagery.
Phallic Symbols, Male Virility, and Fertility
Phallic symbolism has been a staple for many cultures around the world. Images of tall structures and items shaped like penises can be found in all continents. These symbols are often used to represent virility, which is a common trait in the “ideal” man for many countries. Many rituals involving phallic symbolism are often associated with the man’s ability to produce offspring.
Festivities involving phallic symbolism also celebrate male virility, but that one is mostly a subset of a more overarching theme: fertility. We’re not just talking about families being able to bear children – we’re also talking about fertility in terms of growing livestock, having more prosperous businesses, and praying for fine weather to have more bountiful harvest seasons.
Here are some of the most notable festivities around the world featuring phallic symbolism. Mark these dates!
Part of the biggest annual festival in Bhutan, the Thimphu Tsechu, the Dance of Demons and Saints is performed at the Royal Dzong in Thimphu. The festival itself is full of performances by masked dancers or Cham to honour the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche as well as to raise everyone’s personal karma. The Dance of the Demons and Saints is notable for its display of phallic symbolism.
Some dancers perform as Astara, which is best described as the Bhutanese version of clowns. The Astara wear masks featuring big red noses and wield wooden penises. During their performance, the Astara will goad spectators into shaking their wooden penises. They will also bless the religious head with the wooden penis.
Roughly translated as “Harvest Festival,” Honensai or Honen Matsuri is celebrated across the entire country of Japan. The festival is held in hopes of a good year of harvest, honouring the Shinto deities Mitoshi and Tamahime. However, the town of Komaki stands out during this time because of the way they celebrate Honensai.
In Komaki, Honensai features a giant wood carving of a penis. This 280-kilogram effigy is known as Youbutsu, which means “the male object”, and is made out of cypress wood. After monks bless participants with prayers, the Youbutsu is carried in a palanquin and paraded across town towards the Tagata Shrine, accompanied by the sound of cheering and musical instruments. During the festival, phallus shaped souvenirs are also handed to people.
Greece is no slouch when it comes to phallic symbolism, and it can’t get any more phallic than the Bourani in the town of Tyrnavos. Also known as “The Phallus Festival”, the event takes place during Kathara Deftera or Clean Monday, at the start of the Spring Season.
Although the event is related to Easter, most of the festival has pagan origins. The entire town is decorated with phallus-shaped things like wall ornaments, penis-shaped figures made of clay or wood, and even masks with penises protruding from them. The masked people will also chase and tease passersby, where they must kiss the phallic part of the mask. They will then be marked with charcoal as a sign that they have passed the challenge.
Another fun festivity in Japan, Kanamara Matsuri, which translates to “The Festival of the Steel Phallus” is celebrated during Spring, on the first Sunday of April in the city of Kawasaki. Unlike Komaki’s Honensai which focuses on fertility in general, Kanamara Matsuri celebrates the more sexual aspects of fertility, namely childbirth, marital harmony, and protection from sexually translated diseases.
Aside from the usual phallus-shaped candies, art, and souvenirs, Kanamara Matsuri’s main attraction are the three penis-shaped effigies. The first one is a black iron phallus, the second one is wood, and the third one is coloured pink. This is a reference to the popular Japanese legend of a jealous demon cursing a woman by hiding inside her vagina, biting off her husband’s penis when he tried to have sex with her.
This last one is not a regular festivity, but we believe this is worthy of mention. In June 2021, the small town of Chachoengsao east of Bangkok erected a massive effigy of a Penis at the end of a small village road. Just two days after the effigy was built, it started raining in the area.
While the town received criticism for the existence of the effigy, the townspeople are adamant about keeping the tradition and preserving the large phallic structure. The effigy has deteriorated due to exposure to the weather, but the locals say they intend to keep the tradition going, replacing it with a new effigy to provide rain to the area for years to come.
From small souvenirs to giant structures, these phallic symbols are worth checking out. Whether you’re hoping for a boost of fertility or just checking it out for the novelty, you may want to consider taking a detour to one of these places next year.
Dealing with men’s health issues that affect your fertility or virility? Men’s health clinic offers customised treatment options for men dealing with common issues such as ED and PE. Click here to schedule a free consultation.
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