During The Japanese Nakizumo Festival Sumo Wrestlers Attempt To?
Answer: Make Babies Cry
Many cultures around the world have proverbs and wives’ tales that state a baby with a good set of lungs that can cry loud and clear is a baby that will grow up to be healthy. In Japan there is an old proverb that states “crying babies grow fast” and once a year various cities host an event that puts a playful twist on the proverb.
In early spring, they host the “Nakizumo” or “crying baby sumo” tournament. Sumo wrestlers jostle babies, taunt them to “Naki! Naki! Naki!” (Cry! Cry! Cry!), and then place them in small, round “arenas” to face off against each other in what amounts to a crying contest. Not only is it believed that the cries of the children bring good luck (the tournament is held on the Japanese holiday of Children’s Day), but tradition holds that the cries also scare away demons and evil spirits that would harm the children or their village.
Although the sumos get their fair share of cries out of the children, more than a few of the babies find the sumos less than terrifying and do their part to bring good luck by laughing or sleeping through the whole experience altogether.
Image courtesy of JDP.