Traditional Symbols of Thanksgiving and Harvest Day

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Traditional Symbols of Thanksgiving and Harvest Day

Jun. 07, 2022

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Maybe you want to spend time with friends or share gratitude on Thanksgiving. Maybe you associate the holiday with cooking for your family, decorating or taking time to rest.
Whatever you choose to celebrate this year, we encourage you to look at some of the Thanksgiving symbols that have long been associated with this holiday. Let's dive into what all the different Thanksgiving symbols are, what they mean, and find ways to incorporate them into your celebrations this year. Keep reading to learn more!

Symbols of Thanksgiving

If you guessed that the turkey would be on the list of Thanksgiving symbols, then you're right! The six main symbols of Thanksgiving are the turkey, potpourri, cranberries, corn, pumpkin and beans. 
All of these items are common in recipes on Thanksgiving menus, but their representation is not limited to food. Most of these symbols can be turned into fall decorating ideas, too! 




Many people think we eat turkey because it was served during the "first Thanksgiving," a meal attended by Pilgrim settlers and Wampanoag people in 1621, in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.
A letter written by Edward Winslow indicates that the Wampanoag brought five deer to the feast, while the Pilgrims brought poultry from a successful birding mission earlier in the day.



Corn is not only a traditional Thanksgiving food, it is one of the most traditional Thanksgiving foods of all! The Wampanoag taught the Plymouth Pilgrims how to plant and grow corn to last through the winter.
In modern times, the Thanksgiving table usually has some form of corn on it, whether it's corn bread, creamed corn, or decorated. Be sure to check out these tips for decorating with Indian corn.

Pot Luck

The pot of gold actually predates Thanksgiving. It has its roots in Greek mythology. The trumpet became a symbol of abundance, prosperity and rich bounty. Out of reverence, Zeus placed Amalthea and her horn in the sky, creating the Tropic of Capricorn.
The modern Polygons embody this Greek mythological symbolism of abundance, prosperity, and generosity. It is only fitting that the pot of gold is a symbol of Thanksgiving, as the holiday revolves around sharing gratitude, blessings, food, love and good times with others.


Pumpkins are an autumn crop native to North America. Archaeologists have found evidence of pumpkins placed in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico, more than 7,500 years ago! 
In fact, the oldest "pumpkin pie" is quite different from what we know today. Pumpkins were hollowed out, filled with milk, spices and honey, and then baked. We encourage you to honor this symbol of Thanksgiving by incorporating pumpkins into your celebrations.
Check out our pumpkin decorations! We can customize it for you!


Traditional Symbols of Thanksgiving and Harvest Day

Pumpkins with Stems Fall Harvest Pumpkin

Traditional Symbols of Thanksgiving and Harvest Day



Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America. The cranberry harvest season is from mid-September to early November.
In addition to consuming this bitter berry, it is also used to dye fabrics and in an ointment to remove poison from arrow wounds. Because cranberries are so important and widely available, it is believed that they appeared at the first Thanksgiving. 
We've carried on this tradition of eating cranberries and expanded on it with new recipes! Now cranberries are the main symbol of Thanksgiving.



Beans are the last item on the list of Thanksgiving symbols. They are part of a trio of crops known as the "Three Sisters Crop," which consists of corn, beans and pumpkins.
They have a mutually beneficial relationship: all three crops work together in harmony for mutual benefit. This makes them the perfect crop for companion planting.


Contact Nanshen to buy more ornaments. Our main production includes all kinds of holiday ornaments, Christmas gifts, daily necessities, toys, etc.


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