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29th Apr 2013

The Weirdest Parenting Tradition Ever: Baby Crying Competitions Anyone?

Most parents try to stop their children from crying but in Japan babies are encouraged to cry...

If it’s a parent, it’s something you try to avoid at all costs however in Japan, babies are encouraged to cry and cry and cry at the Naki Sumo – the country’s annual baby crying contest.

The Express reports that the strange competition (which has been held for over 400 years, mind you) is based on the idea that allowing children to wail and cry is actually good for their health. We’re sure there are a LOT of sleep-deprived parents out there right now who would disagree with that idea.

Anyway, parents bring their children to the competition and then Sumo wrestlers and high priests coax the babies into a state of distress. The children are then left to bawl their eyes out. The sumo wrestlers growl and scowl at the children in order to get them to cry, but don’t worry – no physical pain is inflicted on the babies.

Parents believe crying is good for the children’s health

Two children are pitted against each other at a time as part of the competition. If both babies cry, whoever cries the loudest wins. If neither of the children cries, the Sumo wrestlers put on scary masks to encourage them to turn on the waterworks.

The event is held every single year at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo and is considered to be one f the high points of spring. The ritual is believed to ward off evil spirits and mothers are convinced that because the babies are held so high, their cries are closer to heaven menaning they’ll be blessed with good health.

It’s a strange tradition but hey, if it’s for the good of their health…