The Reading Cornucopia

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Skyler Boudreau
Editorial Contributor/Reviewer

The word “cornucopia” is derived from two Latin words; “cornu,” meaning “horn” and “copia” meaning “plenty.” And thus, the “Horn of Plenty” is born. It is a symbol of harvest, typically representing a large bounty.

The cornucopia is a common motif in Greek mythology. According to the legends, it comes from the horn of a goat named Amalthea. Amalthea was the foster mother and nurse of Zeus, god of lightning and king of Olympus. In this story, the way in which the horn broke is not explained. Eventually, the great Roman author Ovid created his own version, filling in the gaps.

According to Ovid, the horn broke while Amalthea was caring for the infant Zeus and rather than throwing it away, she wrapped it in a wreath and filled it with fruit.

These days, the cornucopia is used as a symbol of thankfulness and can often be seen occupying the center of a table of food at Thanksgiving.

While a cornucopia is traditionally filled with food, I don’t see why it couldn’t be filled with other meaningful objects. Perhaps books!

Maybe your family finds the traditional cornucopia dull and is looking to add a different flavor to the table this Thanksgiving. If so, try this holiday project! In your holiday dinner invitations, you might include a note for the invitee to bring their favorite book with them to the feast. As your family and friends arrive for the festivities, have them deposit their book into the cornucopia. At some point during the evenings (ideally this would happen after dessert but before the obligatory post-Thanksgiving dinner nap) have your guests take turns choosing a book from the cornucopia to borrow.

This is the perfect way to share your favorite stories with some of your favorite people. You might even convince a non-reader to give this new hobby a try! You could also turn the reading cornucopia into a community event. Try discussing the idea with your local library!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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