Published On: Thu, Aug 4th, 2016

These babies in Japan are made to cry their demons away


These babies in Japan are made to cry their demons away

TOKYO: Usually getting a baby to stop crying is one of the most difficult tasks any parent has to complete. But during the Naki Sumo Baby Crying Festival, the goal is to get the infants to start and keep crying to get rid of the demons supposedly possessing them.

The traditional festival takes place at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo every year, pairing up tiny little babies with a sumo wrestler who will then try to get the little humans to cry.

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The origins of the bizarre practice date back hundreds of years to a simple proverb that states, “Naku ko wa sodatsu,” or “Crying babies grow fat.”

The other reason behind the festival is the belief that somehow the piercing wails work to drive off all demons that would otherwise bring harm. While neither of these claims are proven to work, that hasn’t stopped people from making their children cry in public.

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During the ceremonies, sumo wrestlers take the stage and hold up the babies given to them by their parents, and try to get them to start bellowing.

Among the techniques used to make the babies unhappy include putting on a scary mask to scare them and the old standby of just yelling, “CRY! CRY! CRY!” into their little faces.

However, the believers consider it to be all worth it; the baby who cries the loudest and longest is ensured a long, healthy life.

For all the seeming cruelty of the event, there is an air of frivolity, as the adults appear to realize that intentionally getting their children to cry is a little goofy. The children, though, don’t seem to be in on the joke.


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About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology