25 Jan Pineapple Greetings

The exotic pineapple has been revered and used as a symbol of hospitality and greeting since Christopher Columbus first brought the fruit back to England from the Caribbean in 1493. Until the 1600’s it was the “Treat of Kings”. It was so coveted that King Charles II  of England posed with a pineapple for an official portrait.

Welcoming Pineapples

Colonial Americans preserved pineapples brought on ships from the Caribbean islands. They placed fresh ones on pedestals on the dining room table when company was expected. The fruits were so sought after that entrepreneurs rented them to households by the day. They would later sell the same pineapple to other, more wealthy customers who ate it. Sea Captains returning on clipper ships to New England from the South Pacific brought the fruit with them and spiked a pineapple on their front gate. This was to let visitors know they were home and accepting company.

Pineapple Designs Everywhere

The sign of welcome and good cheer became a communal symbol. It also became a favorite motif for craftsman. Carved wooden pineapples or molded mortar pineapples graced the main gates of mansions. Copper and brass pineapple weather vanes were posted on important public buildings. The pineapple design was also prominently displayed in early American homes on stenciled walls. Woven linens, carpeting and curtains also featured pineapples.

For today’s homeowner, displaying this symbol of greeting at the front entry honors an age-old tradition of hospitality that is rich with history.