There is an ancient Japanese legend that the crane lives for a thousand years and anyone who folds 1000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Traditionally, Japanese brides fold 1000 cranes as a wedding gift to their husband. This teaches them the virtues of humility and patience and bestows 1000 years of health and prosperity upon their husband, as well as granting the bride a wish come true.
The 1000 origami cranes has since become a symbol of world peace through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who contracted leukemia as a result of radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. She died after folding only 644 cranes and so her schoolmates completed the cranes on her behalf, burying her with the full 1000.
I have some Japanese ancestory, albeit quite distant; my great-great-grandmother was Japanese. She died as a result of cancer induced by the radiation from the bombing of Nagasaki. I thought that folding a thousand cranes would be a good way to honour her (and the rest of her family who suffered a similar fate), spread world peace and to get in touch with my roots.
I also thought that it would be a good (and cheap) way to decorate my reception venue. See pics below - these give an idea of how they can be used for decoration. Cranes are often folded in many bright colours, but I decided to use all white.
After about 6 weeks I had folded 100 cranes. Then we started the house renovations and by the time I had folded 400 almost a whole year had passed. The time had flown! I got back to my cranes with a vengeance, determined to finish. I took paper with me wherever I went and folded on the fly. At one point I was visiting a friend's house and ran out of paper. She had paper, but it was red. I went with the flow, used some of the red paper and folded 21 red cranes. I figured the odd red one would add interest and it was better to just get on with the folding than worry about them all being white. Hastening forward in this resolute manner, it only took me another two or three months to reach the 900 mark - only one hundred left to go!!
I managed 50 in just two days. My hands were killing me..... and my back from all the bending over..... but mostly it was my hands that were the problem. My joints were singing. I was so close to the end, but in so much pain. I so wanted to get that final fifty folded the next day. I turned to my faithful wedding forum ladies for encouragement. They cheered me on from their keyboards as I posted the final countdown over the internet. Pom-pom waving smileys bounced about my screen with goading messages of enthusiasm, egging me to go on. And on.
At last...... on 4th November 2010, after 14 months, I folded my 1000th crane! Job done!! Being the kind of woman who is always starting things and never finishing them, I felt exceptionally proud of myself. I had a real sense of achievement. A year previously I had had big plans of a million and one DIY projects I thought I could do for this wedding, but as the time had passed by so quickly I had begun to think that I was building castles in the air. And yet here were my 1000 cranes; testimony to the fact that I COULD, that I WOULD pull this DIY wedding off.