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Michelle Grove’s Los Alamos Middle School crafts students folded 1,000 paper cranes and they are on exhibit at the Mesa Public Library from today through Jan. 20.
Students were inspired to make the cranes after reading the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” by Eleanor Coerr.
The thousand origami cranes were popularized through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was two years old when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing during World War II. Sasaki soon developed leukemia and, at age 12, inspired by the senbazuru legend, began making origami cranes with the goal of making 1,000.
In a popular version of the story as told in the book, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” she folded only 644 before her death. In her honor, her classmates felt sorry and agreed to complete the rest for her. In an alternate version of the story, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum states that she did complete the 1,000 cranes and continued past that when her wish did not come true.
“A thousand origami cranes” is a group of 1,000 origami paper cranes held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.
Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for friends and family.
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 1,000 years. That is why 1,000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories, it is believed that the 1,000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.