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Senbazuru: How 1000 origami cranes can let happiness unfold

Folding 1000 origami cranes is believed to bring good fortune. Today, this ancient Japanese practice has spread around the world, embodying faith, hope and peace. 


According to ancient Japanese belief, folding 1000 paper cranes can conjure up good fortune in your life. In legends, the crane is believed to live for a thousand years; and so each paper crane represents one year in the majestic bird’s life. After you complete 1000 origami cranes, the sacred crane will grant your wish. Senbazuru, 1000 origami cranes suspended on threads, are often made by groups of people who join forces to accomplish this feat. The act often supports a good cause or a special occasion like a marriage. The latter is popular with the Japanese American community, which assigns meanings to different colours: red is love, white is purity, gold is wealth, green is health, yellow is creativity, blue is loyalty, and purple is spirituality.



The custom has spread all over the world thanks to Sadako Sasaki, who was just two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She developed leukemia and, inspired by the senbazuru story, began folding cranes – first for her health, then for world peace when she realized that she would not survive. She made 644, and her family and classmates completed the 1000 in her honor. Sadako’s other legacy is the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, which is in part a memorial to her. Around 10 million paper cranes are sent to the monument from around the world every year – proof of how widely Sadako’s message of peace has flown, and an example of how one person can make a difference.


Enjoy a moment of paper-folding meditation 

The beauty of origami is that it isn’t just a solo practice – ultimately, you’re making something personal that you can give to someone you care about. And not only can you share the physical gift of origami, but you can use the making process to think of your loved one.