Cornucopia - Meaning, History, Tips and Suggestions

A cornucopia, pronounced korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh, is a horn-shaped container. It is a time-honored symbol, long associated with Thanksgiving, that symbolizes abundance. It is also known as the "horn of plenty" and is usually filled with an assortment of the Earth's harvest.

Although it is usually a symbol of Thanksgiving, it was symbolic well before this holiday existed. The word 'cornucopia' actually dates back to the 5th century BC. It derives from two Latin words: "cornu," meaning horn (as in the name of that one-horned creature, the "unicorn") and "copia," meaning plenty.  Thus, "cornucopia" literally means horn of plenty, and the names are used interchangeably.  


The cornucopia was usually depicted as a curved goat's horn, filled to overflowing with fruit and grain and nuts, but could actually have been filled with whatever the owner wished. 

Cornucopia - Meaning, History, Tips and Suggestions

Today, the cornucopia often finds its way to the Thanksgiving table as a centerpiece. It is made like a basket and filled to overflowing with fresh flowers and fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Many people have such a basket that they bring annually to their local flower shop to be filled anew with a harvest of seasonal products. 

Most florists carry cornucopias and keep them on hand during the Thanksgiving season.  A horn of plenty centerpiece looks great on a Thanksgiving table or side buffet table arranged with flowers, dried wheat, or cattails, too.  Florists can use their design skills to come up with all different types of cornucopia arrangements using lotus pods, nuts, and dried fruit.  Gourds or miniature pumpkins can be used as well.

A cornucopia is a perfect symbol of gratitude for all that we have - and all that we wish to share.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Cornucopia - Meaning, History, Tips and Suggestions

Author Laura M. Scott is an expert on plant care, an award-winning floral designer, and owner of Gingerbread House Florist and Gifts in Raleigh, NC. She designs and creates cornucopias during the holiday season. Visit Gingerbread House Florist and Gifts on the web at []

Laura's shop delivers flowers and plants anywhere in the world.