Some children from Greenleaf primary school, children and adults at Church Hill Nursery and
Japanese beliefs promise anyone who folds a thousand origami
cranes a wish by the Gods. This may be
eternal good luck, long and healthy life, recovery from illness or
A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a
wedding gift by the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and
prosperity upon the couple. They can also be given to a new baby for long life
and good luck. Hanging them in one's home is thought to be a powerfully lucky
and benevolent charm.
Several temples in Japan have eternal flames for world
peace. At these temples, school groups or individuals often donate senbazuru to
add to the prayer for peace. The cranes are left exposed to the elements,
slowly dissolving and becoming tattered as the wish is released.
Popularisation of the Senbazuru
Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who at 24 months old,
was exposed to the fallout from the atomic bombing of H
iroshima during WWII.
developed leukaemia soon after.
At age 12 after spending a significant amount
of time in a hospital, she began making origami cranes with the goal of making
one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend. There are differing versions of
her story – one version is that although she did complete the 1,000 cranes she
continued folding past that when her wish did not come true. Another version of
the story state that Sadako never completed the 1000 and that friends and
family folded more.
There is a statue of
Sadako holding a crane in Hiroshima Peace Park, and every year on Obon Day
(festival for ancestors/deceased), people leave cranes at the statue in memory
of the departed spirits of their ancestors.