Good fortune, long life

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Most of us are familiar with origami to some extent. We like the way it looks and it’s fun to try to fold the tiny pieces of paper to make beautiful decorations. But what do these folded pieces of paper signify to a Japanese person?
In the first image, a dove – the worldwide symbol of peace – is bracketed by thousands of gaily colored cranes, the symbol meaning LONG LIFE.

The second image features Omikuji paper strips twisted around metal rods. Each paper strip has been randomly selected by an individual who has dropped a fee into a nearby wooden box then selected a folded piece of paper with a pre-printed fortune, much like the Chinese fortune cookie tradition. You unroll the paper to read your fortune. If you’re pleased with your OMIKUJI (fortune) blessing, you keep the paper; if not, you leave it behind.