Caren White is a understand Gardener and instructor at residence Gardeners School. She has been connected with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.

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A cornucopia filled with actual fruit quite than the synthetic fruit often uncovered in modern ones.


One the the most famous decorations for Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, a horn-shaped basket filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers. The is a prize of an numerous harvest for which the Pilgrims were giving thanks throughout the very first Thanksgiving. Most likely there to be no cornucopia at that dinner, so once did it become a part of our contemporary Thanksgiving holiday?

The Cornucopia in Mythology

The cornucopia is an ancient symbol with beginnings in mythology. The most frequently cited myth requires the Greek god Zeus, that was said to have been nursed by Amalthea, a goat. One day, he was playing too approximately with her and also broke off one of her horns. She horn came to be a price of stamin (Zeus) and nourishment (Amalthea).

Another myth that is attributed come the beginnings of the cornucopia called of the Greek demi-god Herakles (Hercules in roman mythology) wrestling through the flow god, Achelous, that was often shown as horned. Herakles, renowned because that his strength, broke off among Achelous' horns. Herakles maintained the horn and filled it v fruits and flowers to be presented together a wedding gift come Deianira, his betrothed.

Regardless of who horn motivated the stories, the horn ended up being an attribute of numerous Greek and Roman divine beings who stood for abundance and also the harvest. The was many closely linked with the goddess Fortuna. Filled through the fruits of the harvest, it came to be the Horn that Plenty.


The cornucopia is connected with the goddess Fortuna, the goddess that fortune, either good or bad. Once pictured v a Horn of Plenty, she is the goddess of great fortune.


The Cornucopia in History

As Christianity spread out throughout the ancient world, countless peoples clung to pagan symbols choose the horn of plenty. It shed its superordinary associations and also instead became connected with bountiful harvests. That was offered in harvest celebrations and also was even part of church decorations during the harvest festivities. Countless representations the horns the plenty show up in both paintings and also statuary end the centuries.

The native cornucopia is first documented in an English thesaurus that was printed in 1508. It derives native two different Latin words, Cornu, meaning horn, and Copia, which means plenty.

Because of its associations with abundance, the cornucopia has been used on currencies, seals and also coats that arms. In more modern-day times, it has actually been provided in the ornamentation the public structures such as banks and government offices.

How walk the Cornucopia Become connected With the Thanksgiving Holiday?

The first Thanksgiving commemorated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans to be a harvest celebration, comparable to the ones the the Pilgrims had celebrated in their residence country. However, the did not become an annual public holiday till the polite War. Chairman Lincoln made decision that a public vacation to be celebrated by everyone, north and also south, would be an excellent way the unifying the nation. He proclaimed the last Thursday the November to it is in our job of Thanksgiving. The day was readjusted to the fourth Thursday in November by president Roosevelt in 1941.

Traditional foods for the Thanksgiving holiday room a reflection of the foods items that are thought to have actually been offered at the first Thanksgiving celebration. The key course, turkey, is a aboriginal bird, back the ones uncovered on ours Thanksgiving tables tiny resemble the initial wild turkeys. Potatoes, cranberries, corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squash, every one of which are native fruits and also vegetables, are features of a classic menu. More recent migrant groups have included dishes the are traditional to their societies to their Thanksgiving menus.

Thanksgiving decor has constantly featured the fruits of the autumn harvest so it is no surprise that the classic and very ancient cornucopia is likewise included, regularly as the centerpiece ~ above the Thanksgiving table. Cornucopias are readily available for sale in countless places in the fall. The horn is typically a wicker basket however can likewise be do of ceramic, metal, stone, and also even wood. The vegetables, fruits, nuts, and also flowers pour it until it is full them are manufactured, fairly than the genuine thing. After Thanksgiving, most world store them because that re-use the following year.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do just Christians storage Thanksgiving?

Answer: right here in the US, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, the same, similar thing the traditional harvest celebrations which room celebrations of abundant harvests. Most American Thanksgiving meals feature a food selection of classic foods but due to the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, many people also include foods that are indigenous to their genealogical homes.

Question: Which ancient people very first had the cornucopia?

Answer: there is no means of understanding that because that sure due to the fact that most old peoples were no literate for this reason there are no written documents of your cultures.

© 2014 Caren White


lol top top November 20, 2017:

Purl2agony, isn't it fascinating? ns knew it had a lengthy history, yet not the it extended back to the ancient world. Say thanks to you because that the compliment, however none of mine hubs will ever by HOTD due to the fact that they don't fulfill the demands for stellar hubs. And thank you for reading, commenting, voting and also sharing

Caren White (author) ~ above November 21, 2014:

Purl2agony, isn't the fascinating? ns knew it had actually a lengthy history, yet not that it extended back to the old world. Say thanks to you because that the compliment, yet none of mine hubs will ever before by HOTD due to the fact that they don't fulfill the demands for stellar hubs. And thank you for reading, commenting, voting and also sharing.

Donna Herron from USA ~ above November 21, 2014:

I had no idea about the history of cornucopias (or is the plural cornucopiae?) yet I love this hub. Absolutely a great Hub of the job nominee because that Nov 27th. Voted up and also shared :)

Caren White (author) on November 14, 2014:

So glad the you appreciated it, Eddy. And also thank you for reading, commenting and voting!

Eiddwen indigenous Wales ~ above November 14, 2014:

Very interesting and also voted up for sure. Enjoy your day.


Caren White (author) top top November 13, 2014:

Happy Thanksgiving to you and also yours, PurvisBobbi! give thanks to you for reading, commenting and especially tweeting!

Barbara Purvis Hunter native Florida ~ above November 13, 2014:


Thanks for creating this hub about one that our favorite items to decorate v for the holidays.

Have a wonderful vacation of many thanks with her love ones.

Bobbi Purvis

I am going come send this to my pendant on Twitter.

See more: 1 Cup Fresh Basil To Dried ? How Much Dried Basil Equals A Cup Of Fresh Basil

Caren White (author) ~ above November 13, 2014:

And a Happy Thanksgiving come you too, Heidithorne! thank you because that reading and also commenting.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area top top November 13, 2014:

Interesting details on a Thanksgiving standard! vote up and also interesting. Happy Thanksgiving!