Crane Symbolism – Symbols and Meanings of the Crane

This blog post will explore the meaning of crane symbolism. Cranes can represent many things, but they all seem to have a common theme: good fortune. It’s no wonder that the Japanese word for “cranes” is associated with happiness and longevity. In this article, we’ll learn more about what cranes symbolize and how you can incorporate them into your own life!

Long-Legged Beauty: The Significance Of Crane Meaning

The crane has a long history of symbolism, in both Eastern and Western cultures. In Japan, the crane is associated with femininity and longevity; in China, it’s considered one of the four sacred creatures alongside the dragon, tiger, and tortoise.

The Crane spirit animal symbolizes longevity, focus, discipline, and vigilance. So when you get cranes as your spirit animals during a journey to connect with them in their natural habitat or when they come to you in a dream that means you need to go on this journey because they are coming to guide you through this new time period of your life filled with new experiences.

Although not genetically related, cranes may seem like a close relative of storks and herons (in fact, we compared the crane to the stork here: stork vs crane. With the exception of South America and the frigid temperatures of Antarctica, they can be spotted frolicking the marshes and plains of every other continent. Known to be opportunistic feeders, they alter their diet according to the season, switching from a range of small rodents, amphibians, and fish to seeds, grains, plants, and berries. Regarded as a representation of happiness, longevity, and good fortune, it simply fits that we take a close look at the various crane symbolisms.


“The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time, and ability.”


Appearing to be graceful and polished, these beautiful birds build platform nests in shallow water where both parents care for their young until the following breeding season. They are considered to be among the large birds, growing more than 6 feet depending on the species. They are known to live for long periods and are notoriously territorial. Cranes are celebrated as highly monogamous birds as they are known to find mates and groups of family members as well as large flocks and form bonds that last a lifetime.

Crane Bird Meaning

The innate ability of the crane to walk, fly and swim describes it as attuned to certain elements such as our various emotions, femininity, and water. When it unexpectedly comes into your life as a totem animal or a spiritual guide, it may be a stark indication that we should use our past experiences, may they be good or bad, to strengthen us through the challenges of the present.

Cranes appear to people struggling with secrets and mysteries in their lives, calling to mind the importance of keeping to your own and maintaining balance in life that leads to greater protection and assurance of family. Encounters with this spirit animal are signs asking us to look deep into ourselves as there may be occasions when we’ve failed to treat people with fairness. Cranes act as spiritual guides that teach us how to use and share wisdom in the best and most fitting ways.

What Do Cranes Symbolize?

The unique charm of these long-legged and long-necked birds, specifically their striking mating dance rituals, has captured our admiration regarding them as birds that symbolize a higher spiritual meaning. The myth behind cranes as spirit guides date back to ancient times where they are believed to be a symbol of happiness and prosperity.

Since cranes develop eternal relationships with their mates and their community, they are seen as a symbol of a love that has no end. Cranes, with their superior posture, radiate aristocracy and nobility, which led our ancestors to consider them as figures of excellent grace, admirable balance, and honorable royalty.

What Do Cranes Symbolize

Much like most birds that are revered as a symbol of freedom, cranes symbolize abundance and spirituality, drawing the perfect harmony between wealth and faith. They are a strong depiction of solitude and loyalty, encouraging us to be still and strong in the midst of being lonesome while we remain devoted to our values and principles and also to our loved ones.

Often, when a crane appears in our lives they bear with them powerful messages of concentration, perseverance, and wisdom, pressing us to create balance and to focus on what is currently given us. Cranes are reminders that though things may not always go the way we want them to, we should always deal with these issues with the utmost knowledge, sophistication, and patience.

Spiritual Meaning

Apart from being a symbol of durability and justice, cranes are perceived to be messengers of God. 

Using their ability to perform a mating ritual dance and to create music through their calls, they radiate our inner and outer beauty and communicate to us messages from the spirit realm that we might not have noticed. The crane’s ability to assemble in a flock prompts us to seek or provide opportunities to engage with others and socialize.

Crane Spiritual Meaning

Cranes appearing in our lives may be a reminder of the importance of keeping in touch with our friends and loved ones since such a setting may provide not just joy and peace but also creativity, mental support, and inspiration. Their presence invites us to understand the significance of listening to others as it makes us aware of their activities and feelings.

Spiritual Awakening

They invite us to carefully watch and learn about the messages that people are sending us through their body language. Cranes as spiritual animals awaken in us not only the qualities that will help maintain close relationships, but also the wisdom and courage to know when to finally break away from someone difficult and toxic.

Spirit or Totem Animals

When a crane appears, it bears in its large wings important messages about your present life. Oftentimes it comes when you are at a point when you have lost complete control over certain circumstances, offering you respite and the chance to re-establish and maintain stability and balance.

As a totem animal, cranes signify that you are a well-balanced person who is in total control of each of your life’s aspects. It provides you with the grace to understand other people’s needs and the elegance that enables you to foster empathy towards your peers, making you admirable to them.

Cranes impart with you the unique ability to be social yet not minding spending time alone, again displaying the importance of balance in handling our relationship with our communities.

Cranes As Spirit Or Totem Animals

Here are a few more of the characteristics of what a crane as a totem animal brings you:

  1. Having a crane as your totem animal means that you put loyalty in high regard especially in your relationships, as this spiritual animal stirs you to respect and love your partner for a lifetime.
  2. Cranes keep you focused on your goals and provide you with the knowledge and energy to keep working until you reach your goal.
  3. The wisdom that a crane totem animal hands you will inspire others to come to you seeking advice and your opinion.

With cranes as your totem animal, you are depicted as a person who is in touch with his spirituality and that your journey towards higher spiritual knowledge and enlightenment is dynamic and limitless. The crane’s presence highlights the importance of focus, boosting our sense of being protective of the people around us, and of celebrating and enhancing our gift of creativity.

Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
2,567 Reviews
Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
  • Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd
  • Andrews, Ted (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 09/01/2002 (Publication Date) - Llewellyn Publications (Publisher)

The Symbolism in Different Cultures

The image and symbolism of cranes vary in different cultures and traditions. Their warm personality and exquisite beauty, along with their eye-catching dance during courtship, provide countless symbolism and interpretations that enthroned the crane’s significance in the lives of well-known civilizations.

Native Americans

Native American men from these tribes dress up in feathers and outfits to perform what they call the Crane dance, hoping to impress and possibly land a date with a potential wife. They believe that when a crane shows itself while they are fishing, it enables them to an abundance of catch as they are a symbol of luck and fortune. Particular tribes consider cranes as a symbol of good leadership and that the bird enhances their public speaking skills, turning them into amazing peacemakers.


Cranes were mentioned twice in the bible in Isaiah 38:14 and Jeremiah 8:7, the former for its distinct voice and the latter for its role in migration. For Christians, cranes represent people who do good deeds in the service of others. They serve as spiritual guides to remain on the path to holiness amidst the test of sin and temptation.

In Christianity, the crane is also symbolic of repentance. This bird has a long neck and can see into heaven; this indicates its ability to look back on past sins with sorrow for them. A Christian who repents will be forgiven by God, like as if they were being pulled upwards from sin by the wings of a gentle scavenger — or in other words, lifted up by cranes’ wings!


Being one among many holy creatures, the Japanese hold a lot of significance to the crane. Believed to symbolize fidelity, endurance, and good fortune, they follow the tradition of gifting newlyweds a plethora of paper origami cranes to wish them years of great happiness and abundance.

Origami cranes are also given to newborns, not to make them float in the tub during the bath, but to wish them a long and prosperous life. A thousand origami cranes are considered as bearers of peace, hope, and healing and are traditionally offered to shrines and temples.

The Japanese culture sees the crane as a bird that brings good luck – it’s seen as bringing longevity and peace since it lives so long (sometimes even over one hundred years). In fact, many people give gifts of paper cranes to celebrate someone’s birthday!


Crane meaning in China

When it comes to symbols, the Chinese can never be overlooked, may it be in real life or through their collection of artistic works. Paintings of cranes soaring through the skies are indications of happiness and beauty while the ones shown with lotus express purity. Living a long and fortuitous life being a crane’s common symbolism, spotting one among pine trees and a spotted deer was believed to prolong one’s life.


Cranes are seen as one of the most dependable and trustworthy creatures by the Koreans. They are admired as symbols of peace, longevity, and purity which people put in high regard in this East Asian nation.

White Cranes

White cranes are adored and cherished in many cultures as a symbol of discipline, fidelity, vigilance, and wisdom. They are believed to be messengers of God who serve as our spirit animal guides, sweeping down on us in times of anxiety and imbalance.

As totem animals, white cranes are known to help clear and bring light on us when we are in our darkest. 

They are identified to have the ability to carry us to higher spiritual consciousness and provide us with the wisdom to grasp and celebrate the love and joys in our lives.

On the other hand, in Tibetan culture, white cranes are seen as messengers of death. One particular legend says that when a person is about to die (but has not yet passed on), they will see an image of two or three white cranes flying overhead. The head crane cries out and tells the dying soul it’s time for them to go home – but if this warning goes unheeded, then death comes quickly.

crane dreams

Dreaming of Cranes

We often associate cranes with good fortune, but what does it mean to dream of these birds? A crane in your dream may represent a time when you were being lifted up to new heights. You are able to see things at an established distance and recognize the value of all that’s around you. The appearance of this bird is a reminder not only for physical growth but also for emotional well-being. One might think about one’s mind or self as something beautiful worth protecting and nurturing. When we feel safe from harm, we can grow our happiness like a tree full of leaves!

A crane is also a symbol of protection and beauty. Seeing one in your dreams means that you are protecting the people close to you, or it could also mean that there’s something about yourself worth exploring more deeply. The voice should be knowledgeable when discussing this animal because they’re highly communicative with good vision and hearing – so if someone sees them flying in formation during their dream it can signify reunions or new beginnings for themselves!

Bestseller No. 1
Garden Crane Statues, Blue Heron Sculptures for Outdoor, Cranes Decor Metal Bird, Shorayn Patina...
86 Reviews
Garden Crane Statues, Blue Heron Sculptures for Outdoor, Cranes Decor Metal Bird, Shorayn Patina...
  • HANDCRAFTED CRANE STATUES. Crane garden decor handcrafted from durable and high-grade metal materials, hand-painted gradient vintage gray finish with detailed carving, adding an exquisite and vibrant touch to your courtyard.
  • WATERPROOF&WIDELY USE HERON DECOR. These garden sculptures & statues is covered with a weather-resistant finish, waterproof and rustless. Each part of it is finely jointed together. It is a great decoration for the garden, yard, lawn, pond, patio.
  • HIGH-QUALITY GARDEN HERON STATUE. Crane yard art decorations are vividly designed, finished in gradient color to make it full of vitality, creating a more intimate atmosphere to decorate the garden.
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE. Metal crane statue stands at 11.4"L X 7.48"W X 33.46"(the crane raising its head), 14.17"L X 7.87"W X 29.33"(the crane bowing its head) . Perfect nestled into high hedges or standing beside a pond. The Legs of the metal statue are...
Bestseller No. 2
Sandhill Crane Bird Lover Watcher T-Shirt
3 Reviews
Sandhill Crane Bird Lover Watcher T-Shirt
  • Birds Lovers Cranes Binoculars Hawk Sparrow Tern animal lover women mom dad father mother teen cute hawk owl sparrow
  • Bird watcher lover camp nature outdoor lakes stream canyon valley ocean sea lakes midwest
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 3
A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World
13 Reviews
A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World
  • Johnsgard, Paul A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 12/18/2015 (Publication Date) - University Press of Colorado (Publisher)


People have always associated cranes with balance, longevity, and good fortune. Their dance remains to be the distinct and most prominent feature that makes them well-loved creatures (cranes also symbolize love). The crane’s role as a spirit guide is simply boundless which makes encounters with this prehistoric bird timeless.

In another post, we compared the crane vs heron and the egret vs crane, please check them out.

Video: Cranes: Symbols of Survival


Is it an omen when you encounter a Crane?

No, not all cranes are good luck. In fact, only the white crane is considered a bad omen in many parts of Japan! The Japanese word for “white crane” sounds like their word for death (shi), and so seeing one was thought to be an ominous sign that someone would soon die. Thankfully, this superstition has mostly died out nowadays – but it’s still important to know about it if you visit the country!crane omen

What do paper cranes symbolize?

Paper cranes (Origami) have a long history in Japan, and they are even considered to be symbols of luck. In Japanese culture, there is an old folktale that says the gods granted longevity to anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes. There’s another story that states if you make one thousand origami crane wishes, then your wish will come true! So no matter what other meanings these birds might symbolize for different cultures around the world, it seems like good fortune cannot be too far away when someone has made a few cranes themselves!

What does a crane symbolize in the bible?

The Bible is rife with symbolism and imagery, but the cranes symbolize a common theme of hope. Throughout the scriptures, we see God’s care for his people (Israel) as he continues to send them signs that everything will be all right in spite of their circumstances. That is why they are also often associated with Christ who came to earth as an infant at Bethlehem to rescue mankind from sin by dying on the cross so there could be new life after death. Cranes have been symbolic since ancient times when many cultures followed a winter solstice tradition dating back thousands of years: “In some versions, it was thought that three huge flocks of white cranes would fly south together and then turn into stars.” This passage tells us about the importance of faith, hope in the face of death, and that God’s will prevails.

What is the origami crane meaning?

The origami crane is a symbol of peace that’s been recognized by UNESCO. A legend says that if you fold 1000 cranes, your wish will come true! These birds are so important in Japan. Cranes can represent many things but they all seem to have a common theme: good fortune. It’s no wonder the Japanese word for “cranes” which translates into happiness and longevity.

What does the blue crane symbolize in south Africa?

The blue crane is the national bird of South Africa. It symbolizes life, strength, and freedom in this country. The blue cranes are a sign that rain will soon come to provide for crops or water sources.
In addition to being the national bird, it’s also an internationally protected species found throughout Central and Southern Africa. There’s even some evidence suggesting that these birds were domesticated by ancient Egyptians because they appear on hieroglyphs!

What is the spiritual meaning of a crane?

Crane symbolism is often connected with the presence of good fortune. These birds are believed to bring protection, longevity, and purity due to their pure white feathers that were once thought to be a symbol of virtue in China. In Japan, cranes represented vigilance because they would fly all overlooking out for predators. Seeing two cranes together means good luck – since seeing just one is already considered good luck. In Japan, seeing a crane means you’ll find true love in life and will never be lonely!

→ Back to All Bird Symbolism

2 thoughts on “Crane Symbolism – Symbols and Meanings of the Crane”

Leave a Comment