The History of the Welcoming Pineapple
On the last day of March, I closed on my first home. As all homeowners know, those weeks leading up to closing are easily described as a roller coaster of emotions! There have been highs as I’ve shared photos of my home with family and friends and planned their first visits and my first cook-out this summer. There have been lows as I’ve experienced a couple minor hiccups that caused delays in my closing and countless calls to reschedule utilities and movers.
One of our Eastwood New Home Specialists summed up the process perfectly as he described what he says to his buyers: there will be tears – overwhelmed tears as often the “process” with its many moving parts doesn’t go perfectly, and happy, proud tears when you receive your keys and are able to walk through the door to your new home as a homeowner.
As I navigated the buying process, finally my day arrived. I was scheduled to close. All of those emotions I had experienced up until that point were nothing compared to the feeling of accomplishment and excitement I felt when later that afternoon I unlocked the front door to my very first home. I did it. I made it through the buying process (with only one emotional breakdown). I could now wear the badge of honor that is homeownership.
And it is a badge of honor, one that is celebrated by our family and friends when we finally reach this milestone. It is no different here at Eastwood Homes, a business that experiences the home closing process on a daily basis. But despite the regularity of the closing cycle here, even we are not jaded to it. Our team completely understands the significance of closing day.
The morning of my closing, my Eastwood team showed that they understood the importance of the day and brought me a pineapple plant for my new home. Of course, I was excited and touched by the thoughtfulness of the gift! But it wasn’t until I shared the photo of the housewarming gift later that it was pointed out that the pineapple is a symbol of welcome and hospitality! After years of working in the new home industry, the meaning behind the pineapple had escaped me. Now I was doubly touched by the gift!
I began wondering how the pineapple became such a symbol of welcome in our society. After all, now that I gave it some thought, the pineapple image appears in home décor and design, on welcome mats, and in countless other places.
A quick search of the internet shows that the symbolism dates back to Christopher Columbus when he set down his anchor off the coast of what is now Guadeloupe in 1493. As he explored, he found the sweet pineapple, a fruit that was previously unknown in Europe. In fact, fresh fruit was rare in Europe and only available for short time periods. Even sugar was a rarity there. Despite the discovery of pineapple in the Caribbean, it was still difficult to transport back to Europe. The fruit would often spoil before ships could complete the journey. As such, it became a sign of privilege and even a treasure of royalty to have a pineapple.
It would quickly become a status symbol and was used as a way to show hospitality for visitors, often as part of a tabletop food display. Sometimes, families would even rent a pineapple for display, only for the fruit to be sold to another more well-to-do family later in the day who would actually get to eat it.
Over the years, the prized pineapple became a symbol of social events and was used to express a welcoming demeanor. The image of the pineapple would further be used in art and architecture, and can often be seen as the crowning jewel on top of gates at entrances to homes or incorporated into furniture or other wood carvings. The domes of some large buildings have even been formed in the shape of the hospitable fruit. The once rare pineapple is now truly abundant throughout home décor and design today.
And now, the pineapple is a part of my home and welcomes my guests. For that, I am so thankful.
Written by: Tara Whiteley, Eastwood Homes Internet Sales Coordinator and newest proud homeowner.