The History of the Cornucopia


Quick, what comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? It's probably turkey or cornucopia. Besides the ever so popular turkey, the cornucopia is one of the most recognized symbols of Thanksgiving and the fall harvest. The cornucopia, also known as the Horn of Plenty, is a large, horn shaped wicker basket filled with fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains and other items. It is commonly used to decorate the home during the fall season, particularly during Thanksgiving.


The Sweet Autumn Cornucopia from GrowerDirect.comThe name cornucopia comes from two Latin names, "cornu" for horn and "copia" plenty, hence the common name "Horn of Plenty."


Cornucopias have a rich history, dating back centuries. Originally, the cornucopia was made of a real goat's horn and filled with fruits and grains. They have been depicted in ancient art and used for decorations for centuries.  For instance, the horn of plenty has made appearances in artworks with Ceres/Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and grains.


The cornucopia has also been portrayed in Greek mythology.  In one Greek myth, Zeus was sent to hide in a cave so his cannibal father couldn't eat him. While hiding out in the cave, a goat named Amalthea watched over Zeus and as she was nursing him, he accidentally broke off her horn. To make it up to her, Zeus promised that the horn would always be filled with whatever her heart desired. Greeks came to associate the horn with fertility, good fortune and abundance. 


As Thanksgiving is a celebration of the fall harvest and abundance of wealth provided by Mother Nature, the cornucopia is often displayed as a Thanksgiving table centerpiece.  Many florists will carry cornucopias filled with fresh seasonal flowers during the fall months, particularly during Thanksgiving (in October for Canadians, and November for Americans). 


There is still time to order a Thanksgiving cornucopia through or through your local Grower Direct store. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!