Alt News April 29, 2013
Japan's Crying Baby Contest: A 400 Year Old Cultural Tradition

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Each spring, there's an event in Japan called the Nakizumo Festival - aka the annual crying baby contest.

During the competition, parents give their babies to sumo wrestlers who try to make the children cry.

The festival is part of a cultural tradition that goes back 400 years, and is considered a high point of spring.

Many Japanese parents believe if their baby cries, it's a sign they'll grow up with good health.

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Two sumo wrestlers face one another, holding the babies. The winner is the one who can make their baby cry first. If the babies start crying at the same time, the one who cries the loudest is the winner.

There's also a priest there who shouts and waves at the babies as they're held in the air, so their cries are closer to heaven.

It's believed the louder a baby cries the more blessed they will be and that a loud cry will ward off evil spirits.

The event is held every April in Tokyo's Sonsoji Temple. This year, 80 babies were involved, all of them under a year old.

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