The Legend of the Crane
Chinese legend has it that cranes live for a thousand years. Well, that’s legend but the Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago. Cranes mate for life and have a beautiful and elaborate courtship dance which involves the intertwining of their long necks combined with much clacking of their beaks as if kissing. In Greek and Roman myth the dance of cranes was seen 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. However, the crane’s strongest association is with the soul.
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.