I spent yesterday folding Japanese paper stars with Joyfully Reviewed as part of my gifts to the readers sitting at my table for the upcoming Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend, specifically for the big Saturday luncheon.
The ribbon these are made of is particularly fun because the writing glows in the dark. They’ll be going into the base of my table decorations at the event and hopefully go home with the readers I meet at my table. Aside from being extremely cute, there’s a story behind these stars and a cultural practice from my childhood in these.
Story Behind Origami Lucky Stars
Should we start with “once upon a time”?
There was once a little girl in Japan named Hoshi. She loved the stars in the night sky and would lie on the grass at night,staring at them. As hours went by, she would wonder how the tiny stars could shine so bright, remaining suspended in the air for so long.
One night, the stars fell out of heaven in a shower of light. So many fell, Hoshi was afraid there would be no more. Saddened, she ran to her home and found herself an empty glass jar. She took up paper and folded one paper star for each spot she’d seen fall. Within the night, the little girl folded perhaps a hundred paper stars.
And yet, she was still saddened because many more stars had fallen fro the sky and she hadn’t been able to fold a paper star for each of them.
The next night, she saw only a few stars in the night sky. She ran and knocked on all the doors in the village, asking all the little boys and girls to come out. She explained to them her worry and each of the children wanted to help. That night they made two thousand stars. Every child placed their own stars in their own jar.
As they watched the sky the following night, more stars appeared in the night sky and the children cheered. After such a magical achievement, Hoshi was inspired.
“These stars are lucky because of us. From now on, these paper stars will be called lucky stars.”
She also looked up at the stars in the night sky and said,
“Whenever a lucky star is made, a falling star is saved.”
Paper Stars and Piper’s Childhood
My grandmother taught me to fold paper stars for luck during my childhood summers in Thailand. This is a Japanese folk tale, but the practice spread to Thailand and other countries. I was taught to pick a pretty glass jar, fold stars of colored paper, and present the filled jar as a gift.
I fold them now to wish luck to those I meet and gather the tiny paper stars in a jar to give as a gift.
It’s a gesture that’s about effort and consideration, wishes for luck and thoughts of friendship. I very much hope the readers at my table will enjoy them.