Archive for April 2nd, 2011

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Fans for Japan

April 2, 2011

Origami, paper crane, fundraiser

This post is submitted by Manon Lewis, art teacher, Boothbay High School. If you have questions please contact Manon at mlewis@csd3.org.

Our Propaganda and Protest (in art and music) class and my art classes are in the process of an origami, paper crane, fundraiser—in the tradition of “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” (….the radiation being emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi I and II nuclear power plants).  We plan to make one thousand paper cranes (from hand painted, computer paper) and sell them to each other (and to parents and community members) for one dollar a piece—We will then string and hang the paper cranes in our school lobby in visual support of Japan.  The money that we raise will be donated to the International Red Cross (earmarked for Japan).

If anyone would like to join in our efforts, it would certainly be appreciated by the Red Cross and would additionally bring awareness to your community!

The following is the symbolism of our mission (besides the monetary relief-donation that we plan to make!)—-Happy Folding!

The Legend of the Crane

Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been ladened with meanings often derived from legends and stories that have survived over many generations. The Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago. Greek and Roman myth tended to portray the dance of cranes as a love of joy and a celebration of life. The crane was usually considered to be a bird of Apollo, the sun god, who heralded in Spring and light. Throughout all of Asia, the crane has been a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. Existing in fifteen species which inhabit five continents, the most majestic is the Japanese Crane which stands almost five feet tall with its wing span of more than six feet and its white body capped with its red crown. The Japanese refer to the crane as “the bird of happiness;” the Chinese as “heavenly crane” believing they were symbols of wisdom. The powerful wings of the crane were believed to be able to convey souls up to paradise and to carry people to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment. Over time, the crane has also evolved as a favorite subject of the tradition of paper folding – origami. It is said that a thousand folded cranes, one for each year of its life, makes a wish come true.

Shortly after the end of World War II, the folded origami cranes also came to symbolize a hope for peace through Sadako Sasaki and her unforgettable story of perseverance. Diagnosed with leukemia after being exposed to radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako became determined to fold 1,000 cranes in hopes of recovering good health, happiness, and a world of eternal peace. Although she completed 644 before she died, her classmates folded the remaining 356 to honor her. A statue was raised in the Hiroshima Peace Park to commemorate her strong spirit.

Today this practice of folding 1,000 cranes represents a form of healing and hope during challenging times. After the events of September 11, as a gesture of support and healing, thousands of cranes were folded and linked together in chains and sent to fire and police stations, museums, and churches throughout New York City.

Traditionally, flocks of 1,000 cranes are offered at shrines or temples with prayer, based on the belief that the effort to fold such a large number will surely be rewarded. Chains are often given to someone suffering from illness, as a prayer for their recovery, as a wish for happiness, and as an expression of sympathy and peace. A prayer often spoken over time by mothers seeking the protection of cranes has been:

“O flock of heavenly cranes cover my child with your wings.”

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