10 Of The World’s Most Bizarre Parades

Published November 2, 2013
Updated February 27, 2024

Bizarre Parades: Japan’s Phallic Fun Fest

The Kanamara Matsuri, or “Festival of the Steel Phallus”, is held each spring in Kawasaki, Japan. A proud procession displaying different penis sculptures and other phallic symbols, this observance is centered on a local shrine that was once popular with local prostitutes, hoping to find mystical protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Why the metal? One slightly lewd legend states that on a young couple’s wedding night, a sharp-toothed demon hid inside of the poor bride’s lady parts and castrated any intruders. In obvious dismay, the bride sought the aid of a blacksmith, who created an iron phallus so as to break the nasty demon’s teeth. It apparently worked, and the iron phallus is venerated by many. Today, the penis parade raises money for HIV research.

New York’s Easter Parade

Easter Parade

Source: eDelight

Nothing embodies the rebirth of your lord and savior like a gaudy hat. In recent years, the New York Easter Parade has become known as much for its over-the-top costumes and festive bonnets as the celebration of the Easter holiday itself. Women, in particular, don extravagant and preposterous bonnets and hats. Everyone is involved with this one; the participants as well as the viewing public.

Bizarre Parades: Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade

The Doo Dah Parade originated in Pasadena, California, and is a quirky and often absurd display of every sort of originality and flamboyancy you could think of. Copycat parades now take place in Columbus, Ohio and Ocean City, New Jersey. The Pasadena parade was originally conceived and created as a zany and irreverent alternative to the formal pomp and circumstance of the famous Rose Parade that marks the beginning of the new year.

The Lobster Dog Parade

Lobster Dog Parade

Source: Flickr

Another Southern California tradition is the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival. Given the port location, the festival itself is not unusual or bizarre, however the Lobster Dog Parade (that has become a loved tradition) certainly is! Dog owners costume their beloved pets as lobsters, as well as other seafood items, and march the often annoyed and embarrassed animals down the port.

Bizarre Parades: The World’s Naked Bike Ride

Last on this particular list is the World Naked Bike Ride, in which participants gather together in various stages of dress, or more accurately un-dress, to ride their bicycles in hope of “delivering a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.” The dress code ultimately states: “Bare as you dare.” While nudity is highly encouraged, it’s not mandatory to participate. The first WNBR parade took place in the exhibitionist-proud environs of Spain, but since has become popular around the globe, presumably bringing great “exposure” to the cause.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.