The Cornucopia is probably the best known symbol associated with Thanksgiving- next to the turkey of course.
Symbolic well before this holiday existed, the word ‘cornucopia’ actually dates back to 5th century B.C. Derived from the Latin words: “cornu” meaning horn and “copia” meaning plenty (hence, its other name: Horn of Plenty), and shaped like a curved goat’s horn overflowing with fruit, vegetables, and grains … A symbol of abundance.
There are several legends on the origin of the cornucopia. The one that stands out the most for me is the story of Zeus. When Zeus was born, his mother Rhea sent him to Crete to be cared for and hidden from his father, Cronus. The King of Crete had several daughters who took on the task of caring for Zeus. They hung him in a cradle, from a tree branch, so that he could not be found in heaven, on earth, or in the sea. Amalthea, their she-goat, provided milk for the young god. As a gift to thank the King’s daughters for taking care of him, Zeus broke off one of Amalthea’s horns, and bestowed the horn with the power of being filled with whatever its possessor desired. From then on, the cornucopia became a symbol of prosperity and signified that its possessor would never go without.
Today, the cornucopia is typically a centerpiece on the Thanksgiving Day table, or a cardboard cut out hung on the wall as decoration in honor of the holiday.
Thanksgiving Day tradition is different for all of us. For some its the “feast”, a gathering of family and friends, or simply a time to be thankful. Or all of those things mixed with a day off from work, the infamous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and some good Football.
For me and my family, its all of those things! As I reflect on Thanksgiving Days past, I am both saddened and joyful, as this year things are quite different for us. Since moving clear across the country at the beginning of 2010, we find ourselves getting ready to spend our very first Thanksgiving away from everyone and everything we have ever known- both as individuals and as a family.
In part, I am saddened to not have the HUGE gathering of family and friends, particularly since its just the 3 of us. Being around those I love really fills my heart… no matter what the occasion. But mostly… I am grateful. Grateful for being where we are and being together, for opportunity, abundance, love, health, our friends, family, and most of all… For this very special “alone” time as a new family that most families don’t get to have. The time to build on our own “traditions” and ways of doing things. Time to do it “our way”. That may sound silly to some, but for us, its incredibly magical, and we are so thankful for it all.
Those are the contents of my cornucopia… What’s in yours!?!