More than a hundred infants were on hand at Tokyo’s Irugi Shrine yesterday, taking part in an ancient ritual designed to ensure babies’ health. The secret? Use sumo wrestlers to get them bawling their eyes out.
“The babies’ cries are intended to reach God and parents hope that their little ones will grow healthy and strong,” explained Yoshimi Morita, a priest at the shrine, where screams and squawks filled the air.
“So if a baby doesn’t cry at this event, sumo wrestlers try to make him or her cry on purpose, moving the baby up and down, while their parents watch with pounding hearts,” he said.
Not too clear on the origins of the ritual, which reportedly dates back 400 years, but here are a bunch of pictures of sumo wrestlers dangling inconsolable babies.
All photos by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images.