Of Cranes and Dreamcatchers

An Army of Cranes | Canon 550D

I learned last year that paper cranes symbolize peace, truth, good luck, longevity, and good health. I’ve been mesmerized ever since. According to Japenese tradition, anyone who has the commitment and the patience to fold a thousand cranes will receive their heart’s desire because they recreated the elegant bird’s beauty and loyalty. Legend has it that Sadako Sasaki, a girl with leukemia, attempted to fold one thousand paper cranes while she was in the hospital. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 12. Her family, friends, and classmates folded the remaining paper cranes for her – a true testament of what these paper cranes symbolize.

Now, let’s talk about dream catchers:

Sweet Dreams | Canon 550D

I started collecting dream catchers back in 2005 when I was still living in Baguio City. They were sold at the stalls along Session Road and I’d buy from them whenever I had enough money. I remember leaving Baguio with 25 dream catchers, all in mint condition. More than the design, I was fascinated with the story of the dream catcher.

Legend has it that thousands of years ago, Iktomi – the great teacher of wisdom- appeared to a Lakota spiritual leader in the form of a spider. Using a sacred language, Iktomi told the Lakota elder about the cycles of life: our lives begin as infants and when we grow old, the younger generation will take care of us as infants which then completes the cycle. However, as we go through the different life cycles, we become exposed to good and bad forces which can steer is in the right or wrong direction. The dream catcher, according to Iktomi, will help the people reach their goals and dreams. It will catch all of the good dreams and ideas and travel all the way down to the sleeper underneath. The bad dreams will just go through the hole and perish once the sun rises. Inspired by the story, I started making my own dream catcher.

So… what’s the connection between the two?

I figured you’d be asking that by now. Well, two weeks ago, I kept my hands busy with folding paper cranes and weaving a big dream catcher. I planned on making a thousand paper cranes but since I didn’t have enough time, I decided on a different number. It took me two days to finish folding all of the paper cranes (and writing a short message inside each one) and weaving the dream catcher. My hands were dead tired, but since these handcrafted gifts are for someone special, I didn’t mind at all.

People usually think that expensive gifts are key to making someone happy. I believe otherwise. For me, what’s more important is the amount of work that you put into something. Like they say in the world of business, it’s all about the story.

Also, this labor of love is for someone who’s celebrating his birthday. Happy birthday! 😉






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