The Meaning Behind... PINEAPPLES


The Meaning Behind Pineapples


Based on appearance alone, you might not guess pineapples are a symbol meant to welcome, representing intangible qualities we appreciate in a home such as warmth, hospitality and friendship. Read on to learn more about the history of this funny-looking fruit and shop gifts for everyone!

Pineapples originated in Brazil where the Tupi Indians spread it throughout parts of South and Central America.  Here Spanish explorers gave the delicacy the name “pineapple” because of its resemblance to pine cones. Along with the Portuguese they transported the fruit to the Caribbean, the tropical parts of Asia, and India.

Upon his personal discovery, Christopher Columbus packed the hold with plentiful pineapples, but only one survived the trip back to Spain. It was presented to King Ferdinand and the fruit’s sweet taste and unique appearance made it an instant obsession for the rich and powerful.   This, in turn, kicked off two centuries of pineapple production in the tropics. 

The Meaning Behind Pineapples

Europeans tried to grow the fruit outside its native tropical climate but only greenhouse production was possible. In the absence of a local supply, demand increased making the pineapple even more popular because it was hard to get. Because only affluent hosts could afford to serve the perishable treat to their guests, the fruit became a symbol of generosity, luxury, nobility, hospitality and, of course, wealth.

The Meaning Behind Pineapples

The symbolism of the pineapple soon began appearing in art, architecture and other everyday household items, 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.

One of the most famous pineapples in American architecture is located in Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. A popular port in colonial times, sailors coming home from long voyages would spear a pineapple to symbolize they had arrived safely. It was also an open invitation for neighbors to stop by and for a meal, drink or discussion.

The Meaning Behind Pineapples

Modern day, we think of the Aloha state when we think pineapples. Hawaii produces one-third of the world's pineapples today so it’s no wonder we also think of luaus, tropical cocktails and Hawaiian print shirts when we see a pineapple. 

Recently another meaning has been assigned to the pineapple. Couples trying to conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF) use the term #pineappletribe and the pineapple symbol to represent hope and camaraderie



Havamal Gifting recommends giving pineapples for housewarming and congratulations gifts. Whatever your reason for giving the pineapple, you can be confident your message of hospitality will be received.

Check out our full selection of gifts featuring pineapples in the shop!