Cranes may well be the oldest birds on Earth, and they hold cultural significance for nearly every civilization on the planet. But the tradition of origami cranes is distinctly Japanese. According to Japanese tradition, anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes—one for each year of its life—will be granted one wish.
You can fold all thousand cranes yourself or plan this special activity with a community group or your family members. All you need is 1,000 pieces of (preferably recycled) origami or other thin paper; you can even use the pages of an old book.
Before you start, concentrate on your wish, whether it's for world peace, longevity, or the health of someone you love. As you fold (instructions below), continue concentrating on that wish—think of it as though you're folding your wish into each crane—and string your cranes together on a piece of string. The Japanese call these strings "Senbazuru," and believe they bring good luck to a household when strung up. Once you (or your group) gets to number 999, you will begin to feel a tremendous sense of dedication, accomplishment and serenity. Once the last fold is made on the 1000th crane, your wish should come true.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Rodale!
To start your own journey, please see the instructions below:
We would like to credit the International Crane Foundation, for granting special permission to use the Origami Crane instructions seen above. The International Crane Foundation (ICF) works worldwide to conserve cranes, the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems. To find out more about their wonderful organization, please go to www.savingcranes.org to learn more.