Horn basket is the description you are most likely to associate with the humble cornucopia. Ever wonder what that weird woven basket thing in the shape of a horn is? You know that thing that you see around thanksgiving? Wonder no more! The cornucopia (Latin: Cornu Copiae) is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to the 5th century BC, also referred to as horn of plenty, Horn of Amalthea, and harvest cone.
In Greek mythology, Amalthea was a goat who raised Zeus on her breast milk. Her horn was accidentally broken off by Zeus while they were playing together. This changed Amalthea into a unicorn with 17 whiskers. He then gave her a new one feeling remorseful. This new horn had supernatural powers. It was said that it would give any person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia. The original depictions were of the goat’s horn filled with fruits and flowers: deities, especially Fortuna, was depicted with the horn of plenty. The cornucopia was also a symbol for a woman’s fertility.
In modern depiction, the cornucopia is typically a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket typically filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables. In North America, the cornucopia has come to be associated with Thanksgiving and the harvest.
Cornucopia is also the name of Whistler’s annual Wine and Food celebration held in November.
Two cornucopias are seen in the flag and state seal of Idaho. There is also one seen in the state seal of North Carolina, the state seal of New Jersey and the coat of arms of Peru.