For centuries the pineapple has been the symbol of welcome and hospitality all over the world. We see it used in family heirlooms, as needlepoint designs in fabric and carved in wooden columns and furnishings. Today we find the pineapple in brass door knockers, etched in glass, printed on welcome mats and in a variety of colorful table centerpieces. But how did the pineapple become this symbol of unbounding welcome?
The first account of the pineapple was given by Christopher Columbus and his men, after their second voyage, when landing on what is now known as Guadeloupe in the Caribbean islands. They brought the fruit back to Europe in 1493.
The shape and coarse, spiky surface caused the Spaniards to name it “pina”, after the pine cone. The English saw this resemblance also, hence our word “pineapple”. Known as “nana” to the Carib, the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands, the pineapple symbolized hospitality and was often carved into the columns at the entrance of a plantation.
In Europe, pineapples were a delicacy and became very fashionable in the second half of the eighteenth century. Gardeners asked very high prices due to the cost of growing them. They remained an expensive delicacy until after the arrival of the Steamship and World War II. Seafaring captains, returning from tropical ports, would impale a fresh pineapple atop porch railings. This was a sign that the man of the house had returned and was receiving visitors.
During Colonial Days in the US, families would display a fresh pineapple as a table centerpiece of a festive meal. This symbolized the utmost in welcome and hospitality to their visitors. Often guest rooms would have beds with pineapples carved in the headboards and posts. Today the pineapple remains popular in home furnishing design and décor.
This is why we at Norris & Company Real Estate have chosen to incorporate the pineapple into our brand for the past 25 years. We want to extend to our customers that feeling of warmth, welcome and hospitality.