Cornucopia: The Horn of Plenty

Cornucopia and Mythology

The cornucopia is a traditional symbol of abundance which has been long associated with Thanksgiving. Before modern times, however, it was still a symbolic and popular icon. The word ‘cornucopia’ actually dates back to the 5th century BC. It derives from two Latin words: “cornu,” meaning horn (think unicorn) and “copia,” meaning plenty (related to words like “copious.”

A cornucopia was almost always pictured as a horn shaped-container overflowing with fruit and grain, although it could contain whatever a person happened to desire. Many mythological artworks depicted the cornucopia as a goat’s horn overflowing with unending and inexhaustible wealth and plenty. The general belief was that a cornucopia could never be emptied.

Cornucopia in Modern Times

Although the cornucopia is not a physical possibility in the mythical sense, it is very possible to create decorative replicas that serve the same general purpose. Due to the nature of Thanksgiving as a holiday commemorating plenty and abundance at the time of harvest, it has been adopted as a trademark symbol to represent the holiday’s values.

The cornucopia is now one of the most popular decorations found during the autumn months (specifically close to Thanksgiving, although not necessarily exclusive to it). No longer a goat’s horn, it is instead a woven and curved conical basket which is filled with fruit, flowers and other items representing the earth’s great bounty.

It is a tradition amongst some families to keep such a basket stored and ready for each Thanksgiving, at which time they’ll bring their cornucopia down to the local florist to be filled with a customized order of flowers, fruit and other seasonal items. Once properly prepared, the cornucopia will generally be used as a dining room table centerpiece (or, in some situations, on a living room coffee table).

Building Your Own Cornucopia

Including a cornucopia amongst your regular Thanksgiving decorations is a great idea and can be a fun thing for your family to create. If you desire, you can fashion your own horn using any number of craft skills. This is a great shared activity that children will enjoy participating in. If you’d prefer to buy one, many craft stores and holiday shops will carry a cornucopia basket suitable for your needs.

Once the basket is prepared you then stuff the cornucopia full of fresh fruit, flowers, candies or anything else you can think of that represents wealth and bounty to your family. Bringing it down to your florist’s shop allows them to put together a great customized ensemble of gifts to place inside. Oftentimes, you can buy an entire pre-made cornucopia right from the florist.

Much like with a regular gift basket, your florist will head out to local shops and markets to purchase only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients for your cornucopia basket. Fruit will be flawless and fresh while any other items will adhere to similar standards of quality. This is to ensure that only the best items are included in your cornucopia.

Creative Uses for a Cornucopia

We’ve talked about using cornucopias as decorations, and that remains a great choice for sprucing up your own home. You will find, however, that such a basket is also a great gift to present to friends and family. The symbolism of a cornucopia will tell the person receiving your gift that you wish them health and good fortune, and makes it a great alternative to other gift ideas.

If ordering cornucopias from your florist as a gift, it’s a good idea to do so a day or two ahead of time from when you need the finished product. This will give the florist enough time to prepare the design and then acquire all of the necessary ingredients. A bit of extra time will help out if they discover a usual supply source has run out of a specific item.

You may also enjoy the potential benefits of presenting cornucopia baskets to the organizers of Thanksgiving events. A church dinner, bake sale or any other harvest and plenty-themed occasion will end on a very pleasant note if you contribute such an appropriate gift to decorating and enhancing the atmosphere for all in attendance.

Ordering Gift Baskets and Flowers

If you decide that a cornucopia or gift basket is an appropriate choice to decorate your home or as a present for a friend or loved one you can use our above advice to craft one or head down to see your florist to check out possible arrangements. If you are pressed for time or otherwise unable to visit the shop you can contact them for more information or visit the online site to place orders.

Same-day local and domestic delivery guarantees mean that your order will arrive at your door or at a recipient’s home on time for the holiday. Next-day international delivery means you can send your gift baskets and flowers overseas to far-away friends and relatives. This can be of great convenience during a busy holiday.

Copyright (c) 2008 Brant Florist

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