Cornucopias are containers that are shaped like a goat’s horn. They are filled with different things at different places and are used in various traditions. But one thing that is common is that people use it to bless themselves or the person to whom they are gifting it. What do Cornucopias mean? They have always been a symbol for showing gratitude for having everything in life.
1. What Does Cornucopia Mean?
The meaning of the name cornucopias is derived from two Latin words called Cornu, which means horn, and Copia, which means plenty. Hence, it is also known as the horn of plenty or abundance. This goat’s horn-shaped container is usually overflowing with fruits, nuts, and flowers, thus depicting abundance.
2. What is the History of Cornucopias?
There are several stories about the origin of cornucopias in Greek and Roman mythology.
- Some stories say that during a fight between Hercules and Achelous, who had shapeshifted into a bull, Hercules broke the horn of the bull which caused the river to change its course. Due to this, the water nymphs considered the horn to be sacred and filled it with flowers. This horn was then owned by the god of plenty and hence, cornucopias came into existence.
- While others believe that Zeus accidentally broke the horns of a goat that fed him. This horn then could provide him with endless food, and hence the origin of cornucopias.
- Cornucopias are attributed to several other Greek and Roman deities too. Mostly with those who were associated with prosperity and harvest. (Also read Why Rome is so famous?)
3. How Were They Used Initially?
They were traditionally used in Asia or Europe in the form of baskets or panniers, i.e., a bag or container hanging on either side of a bicycle. New harvested food products were kept in them. The harvester usually wore a cornucopia on their back or would tie it around their torso so that their hands would be free to pick the ripe fruits, nuts, or any other crop. Since they were used during the harvesting season, the crops would overflow in them.
They are still used by tea or berry harvesters, but the size they use is usually much bigger to hold a large quantity of the crop. (See 8 Fruits That Have No Seeds)
4. How is it Used in the Modern World?
Cornucopia is still used as a symbol of abundance.
- In North America, they have been associated with the Thanksgiving celebrations and harvest. Cornucopia is the center decorative piece and is filled with fruits, grains, nuts, flowers, etc. This tradition was started by farmers to symbolize their gratitude for the abundance of harvest.
- It is also used for body art as a symbol of good fortune, and fertility.
- It is also featured on the Coat of Arms of Victoria, Australia. Cornucopias are being used on the Coat of Arms of other countries as well, like Panama, Columbia, Peru, and Venezuela.
5. What Material is Used to Make Cornucopias?
During the early ages, people used the goat’s horn as a cornucopia since it was hollow and could be used to fill grains. But with the advancement of time, the material used to make the horn of plenty also changed.
- These days they are made with the same material as baskets, which are usually made out of woven wicker.
- But, apart from this basket-type cornucopias, there is one made with the ingredients of croissant as well. We can eat this cornucopia along with the food that is filled inside it. Isn’t it amazing? And after all, if it doesn’t mean abundance of eating then what does cornucopia mean?