Crying-baby Sumo contest wards off evil spirits

HIROSHIMA, Japan (NBC/EBU) — At this event, it’s OK for babies to cry, and the louder, the better.

Hundreds of babies aged 6- to 18 months joined a crying Sumo contest in western Japan Monday.

It happens every year on the national holiday Children’s Day.

People believe a baby’s loud cry will ward off evil spirits and bring healthy growth.

The babies are dressed in traditional festival coats and headbands and sit face-to-face in a Sumo ring.

A referee shouts at them to make them cry, and the baby who cries first wins.

Some babies burst into tears before the competition began, while others looked at the referee with curiosity.

One mother said she never thought her baby would cry that much, and she hoped her child would grow up healthy. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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