Though there is no widespread Christmas tradition in Japan, people of all faiths have learned a lesson of peace and goodwill from the story of Sadako, a little girl who developed leukemia following the 1945 Hiroshima bombing. She learned of a legend that told if a person folded one thousand paper cranes, the gods might grant his or her wish to become well. Although Sadako never reached her goal, after her death her classmates folded enough cranes to make up the difference. Since then, people the world over have sent folded cranes to Hiroshima. At the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, "peace trees" are decorated each Christmas with paper cranes. Trimming a tree with origami cranes and paper fans (which are easier to make) is a lovely way to honor Sadako's memory and to create a bright symbol of hope.
Return to Tabletop Trees.