It’s almost time for Thanksgiving, so get ready to gobble up your turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing! But let’s not forget about the cornucopia! We all know it as the huge horn in Thanksgiving photos with all sorts of vegetables and fruits spilling out of it. We associate the cornucopia with Thanksgiving, but where did this horn of plenty really come from?
The cornucopia’s history lies in Greek mythology. There are a lot of different stories it might have originated from, but the most common one tells the story of the lightning god, Zeus. As an infant, Zeus was in great danger from his father, Cronus. Zeus was taken to the island of Crete and cared for and nursed by a goat named Amalthea. One day, he accidentally broke off one of her horns, and in order to repay her, he used his powers to ensure that the horn would be a symbol of eternal nourishment, which is where we get the idea that the cornucopia represents abundance.
The horn of plenty has also made numerous appearances in ancient Greek art, depicted as a goat’s horn being held by different gods and goddesses. It has also made its way into modern art and our everyday lives, such as coat of arms designs. It even appears in the popular book series The Hunger Games as the center of the game field where all of the weapons and resources are stored.
In the context of Thanksgiving, the cornucopia represents abundance, fortune and nourishment. It can be made from all types of materials, such as bread, metal, ceramics and wicker, but it’s not just a decoration. It is a reminder of growth, plentitude and thankfulness for all the future years to come!
Winnie Lam currently serves as the On The Menu Co-Editor. She has been apart of the Nexus since 2017.