Saturday, August 22, 2009

House Special of the Week: Senbazuru (Thousand Origami Cranes)

For us Code Geass fans, one of the many things we could associate to Nunnally is her hobby of folding paper cranes. She has told Lelouch that if she was able to fold a thousand paper cranes, then her wish may come true. Apparently, what was seen in the anime, is actually based on a real aspect of Japanese culture: Senbazuru.

Senbazuru is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings.

An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise), and is said to live for a thousand years. In Asia, it is commonly said that folding 1000 paper origami cranes makes a person's wish come true. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family.

A thousand paper cranes is also traditionally given as a wedding gift by the folder, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. It can also be gifted to a new baby for long life and good luck. Hanging a Senbazuru in one's home is thought to be a powerfully lucky and benevolent charm. It is also used as a matchmaking charm for a Japanese girl when she turns 13 years old. She would make 1000 paper cranes and give it to an admired boy.

The Thousand Origami Cranes has 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. Her story is told in the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Several temples, including some in Tokyo and Hiroshima, 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.

I've always known that paper cranes were symbols of peace, but never knew why. After reading about Senbazuru, it's amazing how one individual can change the world's perception of an ordinary object. That in itself is both amazing, and inspiring.

Source: Wikipedia

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