5 Interesting Facts About Origami

Origami has a rich history and is deeply rooted in the cultural traditions of Japan.

The Japanese art of paper-folding has been around for more than 2000 years. Although the Japanese were not the first ones to experiment with origami, they were certainly the ones to popularise it across the globe. Origami has a rich history and is deeply rooted in the cultural traditions of Japan. Here are five lesser known facts about the Japanese art of paper-folding.

Origami Was Not the Original Name

For nearly 1500 years from the time Origami made it into the Japanese culture, it was known by a different name –“Orikata”. The Japanese word, “Orikata” translates into “Folded Paper”. It was not before 1880 that the name “Orikata” was changed into “Origami”. The reason for such a change was that writing “Origami” in Japanese is a lot easier than writing “Orikata” making it easier for the children.

Used in Japanese Weddings

Origami is a very important part of the Japanese wedding customs where a thousand origami cranes are presented as a part of the wedding ritual. Essentially, there are two different ways of performing this ritual. In one of the traditions, called Sembazuru, the engaged couple folds the paper cranes themselves. According to the second tradition, the bride’s father gifts her a thousand paper cranes with the belief of granting her a special wish.

Reserved Just for the Elite

Back in the ancient times when paper was first invented, it used to be a luxury. This meant only the rich could afford paper thus making the art of paper-folding exclusively for the elite society. However, the Buddhist monks were known to practice origami for religious customs. Origami became an open practice to the general public of Japan years later.

Gifts for Samurais

Samurais used the art of origami to prepare presents for each other as a token of good luck against future dangers. Known as “Noshi Awabi” or simply “Noshi”, this tradition involved a kind of ceremonial origami where multiple paper pieces were folded into complex shapes and gifted with a shred of dried meat or fish signifying good wishes.

The First Book on Origami

The first book written on Origami is ‘Sembazuru Orikata’ by Akisato Rito and was published in 1797. The book laid down the timeless art of folding paper into a thousand cranes for wedding traditions. It narrates the legendary story of the special wish granted by folding a thousand paper cranes.