USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘penis’
Adulthood
Folk Beliefs
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Legends
Narrative

Kurupi

My friend from Paraguay has a lot of folklore about the seven Guarani monsters and the legends behind them. The Kurupi was the strangest of all the seven that he told me about.

Friend: “There are several Guarani monsters I learned about growing up in Paraguay. One of them is the Kurupi, a weird gremlin-like dude with a really long penis. I think he represents the spirit of fertility or something. ”

Me: Were there any stories about him?

Friend:  “Yes. In ‘the old days’ a lot of people would say (if they had an unwanted pregnancy) that Kurupi had impregnated them without even entering their home. For example, if you were a single woman or if you had cheated on your husband and didn’t want to get into trouble, you would blame it on Kurupi. His penis is so long that he can go through windows and doors in the night. There are also a lot of stories about the Kurupi taking young women and raping them.”

Me: Did you ever believe the stories?

Friend: “No, I never really believed in the Kurupi. Mostly he’s just a funny little demon that we’d laugh about in grade school.” 

Analysis: The Kurupi is certainly the strangest looking creature I’ve ever seen. Besides the initial hilarity of his appearance, the tale of the Kurupi is creative and disturbing. In a place and time where modern medicine cannot explain pregnancies and sex, legends will replace science. This is a clear example where women would become pregnant (by someone other than their intended) and the only way to protect their virtue would be to blame it on the Kurupi. In many ways, belief in a creature like this can settle marital disputes before they even arise. Additionally, however, the Kurupi could have taken the blame for many rape incidents– when a real person was the perpetrator.

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Adulthood
Customs
Festival
Folk Beliefs
general
Gestation, birth, and infancy
Gestures
Kinesthetic
Life cycle
Magic
Rituals, festivals, holidays

豊年祭り (Hōnen Matsuri) — Japanese Penis Festival

豊年祭り in Japanese literally translates to “harvest festival,” though it is more commonly and colloquially known as the “penis festival.” It is a fertility festival celebrated on March 15th in Japan, celebrating the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manners of prosperity and fertility.

My informant is a student in Nagoya, Japan, and attended the festival this year with her friends. The celebration started in the morning, when Shinto priests playing musical instruments paraded down the streets amongst booths selling phallus-shaped food items and souvenirs.

“There were penis-shaped lollipops, corn dogs, chocolate-covered bananas, ice cream, rice cakes, head coverings, and this rubber penis thing that you could attach to your nose, and this hopping penis figurine thing, and other things I can’t remember, but it was ridiculous. Everyone’s so casual about this too, just like little kids licking penis lollipops like it’s no big deal. It’s funny, because usually Japanese people are so polite and proper and stuff, and then they go out and have something like this, you know? [Laughing] But it’s nice to focus on something that’s so taboo normally, like hey, even if we try to ignore it, it still exists, you know. Penises exist! Sex exists!”

Everywhere, there are huge plaster and plastic statues of penises–tourists and other observers can often be seen climbing on top of them and taking pictures of themselves. The highlight of the festival is a massive wooden phallus carried from a shrine called Kumano-sha Shrine to another shrine called Tagata Jinja. On the way there, passerby are encouraged to touch the phallus for good luck, while Shinto priests trailing behind the phallus impart blessings and prayers. At Tagata Jinja, the phallus is spun furiously, and then set down again for more prayers. After that is the mochi-nage, whereupon observers are showered with small white rice cakes, an act evocative of ejaculation.

This festival obviously originates from an earlier era when bountiful harvests were vital to the survival of a Japanese community. It has since become more about personal fertility, what with Japan’s slowly decreasing fertility rate, with people going to the festival oftentimes for good luck, perhaps with the hope that Japan’s population will begin to pick up again. Nowadays it is also somewhat of a tourist attraction, with curious foreigners and people like my friend, who want to see a show of something so taboo, a strange phenomenon in Japanese society, which is generally so restrictive.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

I’m going to say a word and I want you to spell them out loud and add “ness” at the end.

Ok, ipod.

I-P-O-D-ness.

ihome.

I-H-O-M-E-ness.

itoy.

I-T-O-Y-ness.

imap.

I-M-A-P-ness.

Pierre is a spring admit to the University of Southern California and is a part of the a capella group on campus called the Trojan Men, which is a group that sings with only vocals and no music. He first heard this joke at a Trojan Men party a few days before the item was collected here. One of his fellow members of the group told this joke to a small group of them, and Pierre thought it was really funny. So he has told many of his friends this joke afterwards. He often does not remember the exact words before imap and changes them with each retelling, but according to him those words do not matter. The most important one, the one that must be correct is the last one. This is where the punch line of the joke lies. When spelled aloud, i-m-a-p-ness actually makes the speller say, “I am a penis.”

The Trojan Men consists of all males and, therefore, it is logical that this joke was told to this particular audience. When Pierre retold it for this collection, he was retelling it in a dorm room full of all males as well. Although there were also a couple of girls listening during the party and also to whom Pierre has told this joke, the audience is usually male. It may be more natural for males to tell this joke to other males because it involves the male physiology. Like many jokes, this one brings light-heartedness to issues of sexuality and gender that are not usually discussed in social situations.

Also, the Trojan Men member that told this joke at the party explained to his audience that he had actually heard it from a twelve-year-old boy. He was a camp counselor and grew close to the children attending the camp, one of whom was this twelve-year-old. So one day at camp, the boy simply told him the joke. The Trojan Men member and his audience then had a discussion about how “they just get younger and younger,” referring to how it seems like young children now have knowledge about more adult themes and issues. They also mentioned how it seems like young children know more and more about these issues. There was a general agreement that when they were younger, had not spoken about penises until they were around the age of fourteen or fifteen. This ties into the idea that society views children as innocent and pure and finds it shocking when they are not, as Marina Warner discusses in her book Six Myths of Our Time. Children often tell jokes dealing with the human body, sexuality, and other topics that are deemed adult topics because jokes appear to be the only venue that they can rely on to discuss these issues.

Warner, Marina. Six Myths of Our Time: Little Angels, Little Monsters, Beautiful Beasts, and More. Pg. 43-62. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.

Childhood
general
Life cycle
Narrative

Rhyme – Conneticut

“Mr. Simonchini had a ten-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only nine-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a nine-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only eight-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had an eight-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only seven-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a seven-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only six-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a six-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only five-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a five-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only four-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a four-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only three-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a three-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only two-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a two-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now it’s only one-foot-four.

Mr. Simonchini had a one-foot weenie and he showed it to the neighbor next-door,

She thought it was a snake, so she hit it with a rake, and now he’s got a weenie no more!”

I used to sing this song in elementary school with my friends about our librarian named Mr. Simonchini.  We all sang it to make fun of him because he was a goofy looking guy and probably because he was an adult figure and an easy target.  We would often sing it on the playground or on bus rides to and from school, because nearly everyone in my class knew the song.  Usually it consisted of a few kids joking about a reading assignment that he would make us do and then one of us would bust into the song.  I do not remember how I learned this rhyme, but I do know that I learned it early on in my elementary school career, sometime in the mid 1990’s.  Every now and then we would change the words so that it was someone else who had the “ten-foot weenie” and sing it about them, however with the fortune of our librarian having such a name that so easily rhymed with weenie, we often reverted back to the original form.  Only my classmates and I would use the rhyme and we never sang it around adults so we wouldn’t get into trouble.

I believe that this rhyme basically was a form in which we could show our feelings towards our library teacher, that is that we believed him to be a pervert of sorts.  The fact that he is showing his weenie to a female neighbor and her getting scared gives the vibe that he is not welcome in her home and that he is meant to be portrayed as a creep.  Most children at this age found this funny and we would often laugh about the thought of our teacher showing off his family jewels to a neighbor, only, to have her cut it off.

This rhyme can also be seen as a way for children to become acquainted with the idea of separate sexes and become used to talking about a male’s private parts.  Children have different ways of learning about the opposite and same sexes and this song was most likely a form in which we could make fun of a teacher while also making a taboo reference to a penis.

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