A fall harvest cornucopia is often associated with Thanksgiving, although its roots are significantly older. A horn of plenty decoration often features prominently at this holiday’s dining table or for those with children, a colored cornucopia craft may reside proudly upon the refrigerator. Cornucopia decorations for Thanksgiving often come directly from your garden and symbolize the bounty of the season. Read on to learn more about cornucopia centerpiece ideas.
About The Fall Harvest Cornucopia
While there is no formal record of cornucopia decorations at the original Thanksgiving holiday, horn of plenty decorations date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The word “cornucopia” is derived from the Latin words ‘cornu’ meaning horn and ‘copia’ meaning plenty.
A fall harvest cornucopia was depicted in mythology as a symbolic accessory carried by gods and goddesses such as Hercules, Fortuna, and Demeter. The actual horn was Amalthea’s, the baby Zeus’s goat nurse. When the horn broke off of Amalthea, it miraculously became filled with a constant supply of food for the young god.
This pagan symbol was later adopted by Christians and used in their fall harvest festivals to celebrate the bountiful crops of the season.
Cornucopia Centerpiece Ideas
While your little ones may be assigned a cornucopia craft in school to color, ‘tis the season for adults to utilize their creativity and the bounty from the garden (or a little help from the local farmer’s market) to create cornucopia decorations for the Thanksgiving table.
To start, you will need a cornucopia, typically a wicker, grapevine or other woven basket shaped like a horn that is then filled with the bounties of the season.
What should you fill a fall harvest cornucopia with? You can use almost anything that grows in the fall as cornucopia decorations for Thanksgiving.
Prior to filling the horn of plenty decoration, use floral foam, burlap or even colorful dried fall leaves to fill in the bottom of the horn. Then fill the horn of plenty decoration with baby pumpkins, gourds, corn, wheat, branches of berries, seedpods or flowering kale.
You may also add nuts, pine cones, or flowers such as mums, yarrow, or sunflowers. Use floral damp floral foam if using fresh flowers.
Fresh fruit such as apples, pears, and grapes are additional cornucopia centerpiece ideas.
Fillers can be tucked in or glued in. Keep in mind that fresh floral and fruits and veggies will not fare well if not kept cool, so either assemble the horn of plenty decoration at the last minute or place it in a cool area such as a garage or unheated basement.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.