あかべこ【赤べこ】 : akabeko | define meaning
Region: Honshu (Fukushima: Aizu)
- A traditional toy made out of papier-mâché shaped in the form of a red cow or ox. It originated from the Aizu region of western Fukushima, where a local legend tells of a red cow refusing to leave the site of a newly constructed buddhist temple and thus became a symbol of religious devotion. The toy is believed to help protect against sickness and illnesses such as smallpox.
The name derives from あか【赤】 aka "red" and the local term べこ beko "cow, ox".