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Origami is the 1,000 year old tradition of Japanese paper folding.

Paper folding was reserved for ceremonies around the 6th century A.D., since the paper came from China and was expensive for commoners. Folded paper butterfly figures were first used in Japan to decorate sake cups at weddings, and paper was folded in Shinto shrines for good luck. Decorative figures of paper cranes began showing up on ceremonial kimonos as far back as the 16th century.

The use of paper became widespread worldwide by the 20th century. Origami as we know it was popularized and taught in Japanese schools in art class, and has since evolved as a childhood pastime.

In Japanese lore, the crane—a type of large, migratory bird—was thought to live for 1,000 years, and the animals are held in the highest regard.