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Horn of Plenty: A Thanksgiving Symbol

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

Horn of Plenty

Horn of Plenty

Horn of Plenty: Definition

The horn of plenty is also known by its Latin name which is a cornucopia. The Latin “cornu” means horn, and “copia” means plenty. When you put the two words together, you get the word "cornucopia." Long ago, the container was a real goat’s horn. The contents included fruits, vegetable, and grains from the earth. Today, the horn of plenty can be made of other materials. Some people use a wicker basket. The contents might be much different from the original representation.

The cornucopia has a distinctive look of abundance and nourishment with all the contents coming from the earth. The produce, fruits, and nuts spill out of a big horn because there is more than enough to fit inside the container.

The horn of plenty is a familiar symbol in literature and especially when it comes to Greek mythology. It is mostly associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance.

Origin of the Cornucopia

The most story of the origin of the cornucopia dates back to Greek mythology surrounding the Zeus, the lightning god. As an infant, Zeus was taken to the island of Crete where he was nursed and cared for by a goat named Amalthea. One day, Zeus accidentally broke off one of Amalthea's horns. In order to make amends, Zeus used his powers to ensure that the goat's horn would be a symbol of everlasting nourishment representing abundance.

That's why the cornucopia is a horn. It contains so many things that the contents are seen outside of the horn.

Those who watch The Hunger Games might have noticed that the horn of plenty is at the center of the field where all of the weapons and resources are stored.

Several things can be gleaned from the definition and purpose of the horn of plenty.

  • It is associated with the harvest as a result of the agricultural work that was put growing the fruits and vegetables.
  • The horn of plenty always gives the impression of prosperity and abundance, indicating more than enough.
  • Hopefully, people will see the horn of plenty as a representation of spiritual wealth just as much as physical wealth.
  • One thing that must be emphasized is that the entire bounty comes from the earth and not from the mall.

The Earth's Bounty

Everything in the horn comes from the earth. The content is associated with the harvest season. That's why the cornucopia is seen mostly around the fall instead of during the summer months. It is used in Thanksgiving decorations in people's houses as well as in department stores.

The Pilgrims suffered lack when they first came to America. They had very little during their first winter. However, they depended on God for their supplies from the earth. The following season in 1621, they were no longer in need. In fact, they had more than enough.

The Pilgrims recognized that every good thing comes from God. Therefore, they gave Him thanks in all circumstances, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

horn-of-plenty-a-thanksgiving-symbol

Two Cornucopias in State Seal of Idaho

In most of the United States, the cornucopia is associated with the harvest especially around the Thanksgiving holiday. One state embraces the full meaning of the horn of plenty all year long. That's why there are two of them on the flag and state seal.

The two cornucopias, or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural resources in the state of Idaho.

Look at the picture of the state seal of Idaho and see if you can locate the two cornucopias.

Great Seal of Idaho

Great Seal of Idaho

Ways of Displaying the Horn of Plenty

When the cornucopia was first used, it was always on its side. It is better for it to be used that way as a centerpiece full of contents from the earth. Today, the horn of plenty is a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket filled with fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Some people use the wicker basket upside down as a container just for flowers and twigs as decoration for a door or wall. This is to show that the horn of plenty can be versatile.