The Origins of Traditional Fall & Thanksgiving Decor

thanksgiving traditions decorations We can all think of several items that are traditionally used to decorate during the fall season and Thanksgiving, but what do we really know about them? In our last post we began to explore the origins of different harvest celebrations, and now we’d like to look into the symbolic meanings of some of the most widely practiced traditions in fall harvest and Thanksgiving decorating.

Cornucopia: Latin for “horn of plenty,” this traditional piece of decor comes from Greek mythology. After Zeus rewarded the goat goddess Amalthea by transforming her into a constellation, he took one of her horns and presented it to the King of Crete. The horn proved to be a magical horn that was filled with any food or drink that the King desired. It remained a symbol of abundance for the Greek and Romans

Turkey: Known as the bird of the harvest, the turkey plays an important role in White Mountain Apache mythology and ancient Mayan and Aztec tribes. The turkey is responsible for the beginning of agriculture life, as the myth goes that a turkey gave a young brother and sister seeds and taught them how to grow corn. The turkey was additionally revered by ancient North American tribes for the way it shared roosting and nesting space.

Pumpkins and squash: These fruits were believed to have been first cultivated in the ancient Americas along river banks long before corn. They were known to store well, which made them an important food to harvest before the winter season. Once maize was discovered, early farmers began growing squash with corn and beans, an ancient farming tradition that became known as the “Three Sisters.”

Stay tuned for our next post where will we uncover the meanings of other fall harvest symbols that are still used in fall and Thanksgiving decorations today. Carry on these fall harvest traditions with meaningful and beautiful decor from Paul Michael Company in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.


Photo via Victorian Traditions/

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