I developed my fascination for the pineapple symbol during a Sales Meeting in Sweden, at the beautiful Bergendal hotel (https://www.bergendal.se/en). Every room in the main historic guest house had at least one symbol of a pineapple. Gold ones, porcelain ones, paintings of pineapples…. I researched the origin of the Pineapple symbol. And since I learned about it, how the Pineapple became the symbol of adventure, prosperity and hospitality I have been giving Pineapple statues (the gold ones being my favorite) to new team members, at farewell parties. Read below how this exotic fruit became famous, and start sharing the story yourself – Joost d’Hooghe (the captain journeys inspired my personal motto as well; “WORK LIKE A CAPTAIN, PLAY LIKE A PIRATE 🏴‍☠️”


The legend began with the sea captains of New England, who sailed among the Caribbean Islands and returned bearing their cargo of fruits, spices and rum. According to legend, the captain would spear a pineapple on a fence post outside his home to let his friends know of his safe return from the sea. The pineapple was an invitation for them to visit, share his food and drink, and listen to tales of his voyage.

The sea captain was not the only one that enjoyed this tradition; a hostess’s ability to have a pineapple for an important dining event said as much about her rank as it did about her resourcefulness. So sought after were the prickly fruits that colonial confectioners sometimes rented them to households by the day. Later, the same fruit was sold to other more affluent clients who actually ate it. As you might imagine, hostesses would have gone to great lengths to conceal the fact that the pineapple that was the visual apogee of their table display and a central topic of their guests’ conversation was only rented.

Another tradition in larger well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors’ suspense about the table being readied on the other side. At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening’s main event. Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests’ dining pleasure.

In this manner, the fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.” full article on Feigonhamilton

Pineapples are native to South America, and they were transplanted in the Caribbean by the Carib Indians. While visiting with cannibals on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493, Christopher Columbus declined the cooked human body parts that were offered by his hosts. To prove that he was not a rude explorer, Columbus accepted a piece of strange fruit that we now know as pineapple. Impressed with the tangy sweetness, he brought it back to sugar-starved Renaissance England  – full article 

What did the high demand mean for the price? In today’s money, a George Washington-era pineapple would cost as much as $8,000. Similar price tags were also recorded in Europe. Because of their scarcity and price, pineapples were originally served only to most-honored guests. That idea was translated into pineapple images so that those who couldn’t afford the fruit itself could still share the sentiment. Towns, inns and even individual households would display pictures or carvings of the fruit to convey a sense of welcoming. – full article on treehugger


%d bloggers like this: