Ok. Here it is, folks.
The moment you've all been waiting for!
Just to hoist the wooden phallus and it's palanquin up
onto the shoulders of these men was a chore and a half!
|All the men
who carry the large wooden penis are 42 years old. An age which
is thought to be unlucky and, like the women aged 36, requires
spiritual labors such as carrying a gigantic phallus through
the streets of one's town.
It takes 60 men working in alternating shifts to deliver this
offering to Tagata Shrine. The 8-foot long phallus by itself
weighs in at 280 kg (620 pounds), but inside it's wooden palanquin..
together they weigh an astounding 400 kg (885 pounds)!
|| The appearance
of the phallus changes a bit from year to year. Sometimes it
is very smooth and some years it is carved with many veins.
It has also grown larger over the years.
The presentation of the phallus has changed, also. For example,
many years ago the wooden phallus was attached to a straw effigy
of a warrior. Can you imagine holding a festival like this in
Europe or North America?!?
|I could tell
it wasn't easy. All the men who carried the wooden phallus seemed
to be completely drunk! Even rotating out the tired ones with
well-rested men frequently they almost lost it a couple times!
The men who carried
mikoshi didn't have it any easier, though!
Once the phallus and
mikoshi arrived at the shrine, the phallus was spun
furiously and it seemed to dance at the door to the shrine. Some
prayers were said and then it was time to start the Mochi Nage...