Thursday, September 09, 2010

CRANE FAMILY: Sacred Gifts

As one of the oldest groups of Birds, the Crane Family dates back to the Paleocene Era. For thousands of years, the beauty and grace of these Birds have inspired peoples and civilizations. From instilling sacred knowledge to inspiring speech, Cranes have always been a part of human cultures.

Scientists divide Cranes into two sub-families, the Balearicae and Gruinae. The Crowned Cranes comprise the Balearicae. These living fossils of the Crane Family are found only in Africa. Moreover, Crowned Cranes are the only Cranes who roost in trees.

Meanwhile, the Gruinae includes the typical Cranes; this sub-family is further divided into three groups (Genus). The Grus group is the typical Cranes that most people are familiar with. The Blue and Demoiselle Cranes (the Anthropoides) prefer dry grasslands and semi-arid areas instead of the usual marshes. Meanwhile, the Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) is the only member of the Bugeranus Group. This Crane has a long bill, black legs and toes.

One custom that people notice about Cranes is what They do at dawn. Various pairs of Cranes will announce their territory with a unison call. Then, their neighbors will respond with their own calls. In the early morning, the grasslands and wetlands resound with the calls of Crane pairs. This dawn ritual is done to deepen the bonds of each pair.

The stateliness and elegance of Cranes have inspired people throughout the ages. In Asia, Sarus Crane is the symbol of marital fidelity. Meanwhile in China and Japan, Red-Crowned Crane represented happiness. Since They were messengers of the Gods, Demoiselle Cranes were places on Egyptian tombs. According to the Bambara of Africa, Crested Crane gave birth to speech. For the ancient Irish, Common Crane inspired Oghma to create the Ogham alphabets.

Cranes have given people many wonderful things. Their sacred gifts include beauty, happiness, immortality, love, loyalty, piety, and purity. These are suitable gifts that we can all possess and give to others. Let Cranes be your guide to holy things.

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