Hopes of luck, healing and wishes come true were carried on the wings of origami cranes that were handed out to all who donated to the collection for Japanese disaster relief at a fundraiser dinner I attended last week. What a fitting gift of gratitude – the delicate, perfectly formed origami crane – rich with symbolism. Here are photos of the one I received.
A group of one thousand origami cranes, according to Japanese legend, is a symbol of good luck, healing and wishes come true. It is said that someone who folds 1000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Cranes are considered to be mystical creatures that live 1000 years.
The name for a group of one thousand origami cranes held together with string is “Senbazuru.” This is a traditional Japanese wedding gift symbolizing a wish for 1000 years of happiness and prosperity. Some people hang a Senbazuru in their home for good luck.
My daughter learned how to fold origami cranes in elementary school when they read a children’s book entitled Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. As the story goes, a young Japanese girl named Sadako developed leukemia resulting from radiation exposure following the bombing in World War II. She hoped that by making 1000 origami cranes she would live longer. Only able to complete 644 before passing away, her friends completed the remaining 356 and buried all 1000 cranes with her. Today, school children often bring Senbazuru to temples and war memorials in Tokyo and Hiroshima as a symbol of a wish for world peace. Inspired by this tale, my daughter undertook a project to make 1000 origami cranes and send them to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Here’s a photo of her after completing the huge task.
Deeply touched by the reports of suffering and devastation caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many PCHers want to help. So our company has responded with a way to increase the value of our donations by matching employees’ charitable donations to The American Red Cross, UNICEF or the Salvation Army for the purpose of helping victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The total of PCH employee contributions received by 5:00 pm today, March 25, 2011, up to $5,000.00, will be matched by Publishers Clearing House.
We’d be interested in hearing from our PCH Blog readers about any Japanese disaster relief efforts you may be involved in. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to help, too, by making a donation to a charity of your own choice that is helping the country.
Executive Vice President
PCH Publishers Clearing House